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Smoke from burning oil could head toward Coast (Updated 1 p.m.)

AccuWeather.com reports the U.S. Coast Guard will attempt to set fire to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill before it reaches beaches, and now winds could be responsible for pulling thick, black smoke towards the coastline, but should affect Louisiana more than Mississippi.

AccuWeather.com meteorologists foresee winds gusting 20 to 30 mph beginning to pull up out of the south late in the day on Thursday, lasting through early next week.

New Orleans could be in the line of the fire's smoke if winds continue in a southeasterly path. The city could also be hammered with the pungent odor of burning oil.

Don Kottlowski, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, said the winds will be from the southeast this weekend and will pick up and gust Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which will push the smoke away from the Mississippi Coast. But once the wind shifts later in the weekend or first of next week, it will move more toward the Louisiana-Mississippi area.

"As the slick breaks up, it will move toard the coast," he said. "The smoke will be a short-term thing. But the barrier islands will bear the brunt of the oil spill initially."

Kottlowski said tar balls could become a problem in the long term as well.

The storm system currently moving across the Pacific Northwest will head towards the nation's midsection by late week. Seas in the Gulf of Mexico will be choppy, with waves heights between 3 and 9 feet through at least Monday of next week.

New Orleans also could be in the line of the fire's smoke if winds continue in a southeasterly path. The city could also be hammered with the pungent odor of burning oil.

The storm system currently moving across the Pacific Northwest will head towards the nation's midsection by late week. Seas in the Gulf of Mexico will be choppy, with waves heights between 3 and 9 feet through at least Monday of next week.

Today, winds are light and seas are calm in the Gulf, which will aid Wednesday cleanup efforts of the Deepwater Horizon rig. These conditions should last through the day today.

Sunherald.com will update this story as details become available.

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