Scientists say that as bad as things are now, they could get a lot worse: If containment efforts don't work, oil could remain in the Gulf for years.
"One of the worst things that could happen in the next couple of months or even sooner is we could get even a minor tropical storm," said Denise Reed, director of the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of New Orleans.
Reed tells NBC station WDSU of New Orleans that winds and waves would spread the oil even farther into the marsh, especially hard-to-collect oil below the surface,
"I am more worried about the oil that we can't see compared to the oil that we can," Reed says.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu heard concerns at an open house last night as the first real storm threat began forming in the Caribbean. The storm could be in the Gulf by weekend, meteorologists said.
"There's a tremendous amount of anxiety and frustration, as people should be," the mayor said. "One of the things I promise is that we're going to give people information, which is what we've done."