Short on certainty

Thursday afternoon we were momentarily buoyed by the news that BP’s “top kill” method of plugging the sunken Deepwater Horizon well by slowly pumping in mud was working. Then a couple of hours later, we were hearing reports that maybe it wasn’t working so well after all.

It’s also difficult just to know how much oil is spewing from the well. One look at the Gulf Leak Meter widget on the NF home page will confirm that. As of Friday, May 28, estimates of the rate that oil is gushing into gulf waters daily range from the U.S. Geological Survey’s calculation of 504,000 gallons a day to outside estimates of 1,050,000 gallons — and those aren’t even the worst-case-scenario predictions.

BP’s worst-case scenario figure is 2.52 million gallons a day. Other experts’ worst-case total is 4.2 million gallons each day.

It’d be nice to say on the verge of this holiday weekend that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for the gulf region’s fishermen, but even six weeks into this nightmare it’s just too early to tell. Plus, NOAA announced this week that the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season that begins June 1 is expected to be an “active to extremely active” one.

Let’s try not to think about what happens if a hurricane blows through the gulf region and further stirs up waters already befouled by oil from the Deepwater Horizon well.

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