Dead zone predictions much less spread than 2012

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Scientists in Michigan and Louisiana are predicting a big summer "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico. In the Chesapeake Bay, a smaller than average dead zone is expected.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released predictions Tuesday for areas with too little oxygen to support life.

It says the Gulf zone prediction is 7,286 to 8,561 square miles — anywhere from the top 10 to the largest ever.

This year's estimates are much closer together than last year's, when Michigan scientists predicted the hypoxic zone would cover just under 1,200 square miles and Louisiana scientists predicted about 6,210 square miles. It measured 2,889 square miles.

Scientists will measure this year's dead zone from July 25-Aug. 3.

A tropical storm shortly before that would reduce the size.