The Atlantic hurricane season could slow efforts to contain the biggest oil spill in US history. Tropical Storm Alex is set to gather strength today.
It is not forecast to hit the site of the gushing well off Louisiana’s coast. But high waves linked to it could set the containment operation back a week or more and push oil further inland.
“Any kind of a surge from a storm would obviously exacerbate the oil, move it further into marshes and would cause problems for us,” said US Coast Guard chief Admiral Thad Allen. “We are going to face that potential throughout the hurricane season should we have any kind of heavy weather.”
At Grand Isle, Louisiana, small boats involved in the clean-up operation have been forced to remain docked because of winds from Tropical Storm Alex. The Gulf oil crisis is now in its 71st day with no firm end in sight.