Federal officials confirmed oil from the Gulf has reached the so-called loop current, which could send it around South Florida and into the Atlantic Ocean.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric and Atmospheric Administration reported Wednesday "a small portion" of the oil slick resulting from the Deepwater Horizon's explosion last month has reached the current, according to media reports.
NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco said once oil hits the current, it could reach the Florida Strait in eight to 10 days. If oil enters the current, persistent offshore winds could bring it to Florida's shore, she added.
Evaporation and natural dispersion will reduce the oil volume significantly in the current, however, changing the nature of the crude and transforming it mainly into tar balls, Lubchenco added.