Gulf communities are still dealing with the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest disaster of its kind in the history of the petroleum industry. The leak gushed unabated for three months. But how much worse could the damage have been if it occurred not in the mild weather conditions of the Gulf, but in the midst of blizzards, with temperatures plunging -100 below zero, in a region of shifting ice, violent storms, darkness, no roads and few seaports?