We are continuing to have calls about the status of the beach here locally. I can tell you what it is like today and what we expect through the next 72 hours. As of right now it is warm in the mid to high 80’s during the days and 60’s at night. There is hardly a cloud in the sky but we have had a few overnight showers here and there. The beach is as beautiful as it has always been, and we expect it to stay that way for the next 72 hours. Beyond that we really do not have a forecast. The winds seem to moving everything a little closer but we still have no definitive information that it will be hitting our beach at all, and as the currents and winds change daily everything changes with the shape of the spill. Right now there are orange protective booms just off of our beach and actually covering basically the entire coastline of Alabama. I will continue to post photos, videos, and blogs daily to keep everyone informed. We are looking forward to a full house Memorial Day Weekend. The information from our local convention and visitors bureau is below. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns, we are happy to help!!!
To date, no oil has reached the beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and according to NOAA, none is expected for at least the next 72 hours. See the current NOAA map and forecast here.
There have been no reports of odor along the beaches of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan. At its closest point, the slick is approximately 50-60 miles away from the western tip of our island.
The Alabama Department of Public Health and Alabama Department of Environmental Management have stated that there is no foreseeable need to close beaches and, short of a drastic change, they have no plans to do so.
An erroneous e-mail has been circulated stating that Governor Riley had ordered the beaches closed. That e-mail is false. A press release from the Governor’s office verifying that the beaches ARE open was issued Monday, May 17th. Click here to read the release.
Although NOAA has closed commercial fishing in a limited area of the gulf between the Mississippi River and Pensacola Bay, there is a large area of the gulf still open. Charter boats are leaving Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan every day to fish areas up to 25-30 miles out and in our inshore waters. To view a map of the closed area, go to https://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
A few dozen tarballs were found washed up on the beach last week in areas between Lagoon Pass in Gulf Shores west to Fort Morgan. This was an isolated incident and contracted crews immediately cleaned the affected areas. According to NOAA, tarballs DO NOT pose a health risk to the average person. However, beachgoers are advised not to pick them up and asked to report any sightings by calling 866-448-5816. To read NOAA’s information about tarballs, click here.
All appropriate protective measures, including oil-absorbing booms, are being placed along beaches, bays, inlets, and sensitive areas in an effort to keep oil from reaching Alabama’s shoreline. National, state and local response teams are deployed at sites along the coast to deal with local effects.
We will continue to monitor the situation and post information pertinent to our local area at gulfshores.com and orangebeach.com as they become available. (Click the yellow link at the top of the page.)
For detailed information about the entire incident, visit the NOAA (https://response.restoration.noaa.gov/) or Deepwater Horizon (www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com) response sites.