Weather Forecasts Vital to Oil Cleanup

New Orleans, La. – The Coast Guard says it's planning to spend rest of this calendar year cleaning up oil from the Gulf of Mexico. Where it assigns vessels to skim is vital to keeping oil off beaches and marshland. TV meteorologists throughout the Gulf Coast are including predictions of where tarballs could appear using wind directions and currents. Maps compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are routinely part of station broadcasts. NASA satellite pictures are also reviewed. The Coast Guard is ramping up aerial tracking to predict where string of oil stretching from the well site may move ashore. It's also identifying where crews should move boom in case of high seas in stormy weather.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.