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May 18, 2010 4:08 PM by Chris Welty

Powerful Current Could Take Oil To Florida

MIAMI (AP) - Government scientists are surveying the Gulf of Mexico to determine if oil from a massive spill off Louisiana has entered a powerful current that could take it to Florida. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Jane Lubchenco says aerial surveys show some tendrils of light oil close to or already in the loop current, which circulates in the Gulf and takes water south to the Florida Keys and the Gulf Stream.

But most oil is dozens of miles away from the current. Lubchenco says it will take about eight to 10 days after oil enters the current before it begins to reach Florida. But scientists from the University of South Florida are forecasting it could reach Key West by Sunday.

Twenty tar balls found off Key West on Monday are being tested to see if they came from the spill.

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