View from space: Oil slick chokes Mississippi Delta

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NASA MODIS Terra satellite clearly shows Gulf oil slick surrounding the Mississippi Delta Monday.

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Check out the remarkably clear image from NASA Monday showing the extent of the oil spill from BP’s ruptured oil well on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. The oil changes the reflectivity of sunlight on the ocean’s surface, resulting in different appearances depending on the angle of the sun and the satellite’s imager.

Several features are noticeable on the image.

-The huge blob of oil (and dispersant?) at the surface is visible a few miles off the tip of the Mississippi Delta in the Gulf.

-Large amounts of oil have clearly infiltrated the marshes and inlets surrounding the Mississippi Delta “bird’s-foot” region.

-Streamers of oil extend northeast from the main oil slick just off the Mississippi and Alabama beaches.

-A narrow plume of oil streams southeast away from the main oil slick, possibly a finger having been tapped by the Gulf loop current.

It’s remarkably clear (and sad) how extensive the oil spill is when viewed from space.

Perfect weather pattern:

Now for some good news. We are about to enjoy what could be some of the finest weather this spring and summer in the Upper Midwest. Our weather pattern over the next 5 days will feature:

-Sunny days and starry moonlit nights

-A bright full moon Thursday evening (Moon is full at 6:07pm Thursday)

-A dry comfortable air mass with dew points in the 40s and 50s.

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-Warm days with highs in the 80s through Saturday.

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-A mostly dry and pleasant Memorial Day weekend with only a couple of hours of rain likely on Sunday.

Twins get a break:

Okay time for my baseball soapbox.

I’ve heard some criticize the Twins for not finishing last night’s game with the Yankees. There are a few things I think need to be pointed out here.

-The call to postpone the game is made by the umpires once the game is underway, not the Twins.

-Those that seem to think you can play through moderate to at times heavy downpours may have never played baseball at a high level. It is extremely difficult to throw, field or hit a wet baseball in those conditions.

-The risk of injuries to players increases greatly when field conditions are wet or muddy. Footing for pitchers is extremely difficult. It is easy to blow out a hamstring or groin for pitchers when their front foot slides out as they can’t find purchase on a muddy mound when they deliver a pitch. Is it really worth risking a season or career ending injury to a multi million dollar athlete for playing in a few innings of rain?

-There was ample lighting with last night’s storms. This is a risk to players and fans alike.

What would those same people who criticized the decision to postpone have said if players or fans had been hit by lightning last night?

There are some illuminating stats on the dangers of lightning here.

Trust me when I say the Twins have some of the best weather support available. There could always be a bad call during the course of a season, but it was a good call to postpone the game last night. The batting average for the Twins weather support team is high so far this year at Target Field.

Okay, I’m off my baseball soapbox now. Time to enjoy a nearly doubleheader today in this beautiful weather!


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