Hopes high that Alex will miss oil spill

| 26/06/2010

(CNS): The Atlantic season’s first tropical storm which formed early on Saturday morning remains on a track to avoid the massive oil spill area in the Gulf. However experts are warning that this or any system can quickly change course and send cleanup efforts grinding to a halt. The logistics of containing the oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico are difficult in ideal conditions. Things become even more complicated with the approach of a storm system like Alex, which has pelted Belize, northern Guatemala and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula with heavy rain.

Any system with winds over 46 mph could force BP PLC to abandon efforts to contain the flow for up to two weeks and delay the drilling of two relief wells that are the best hope of stopping it, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said. Alex has weakened to a tropical depression but Alex will cross over the Yucatan Peninsula back into the Gulf, where the warm waters could fuel it up to hurricane strength. It’s projected to hit Mexico again south of Texas and miss the spill, but officials are watching closely.

"We all know the weather is unpredictable and we could have a sudden, last-minute change," Allen said.

Alex is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches over the Yucatan Peninsula, eastern Guatemala and much of Honduras and Belize through Sunday evening. Isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches are possible over mountainous areas. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Tropical storm force winds are expected to reach the Bay Islands of Honduras by Sunday afternoon and the coast of Belize and theYucatan Sunday tonight.
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