Hurricane Alex veers away from gulf oil spill but still threatens

a satellite view of hurricane katrina

Hurricane Alex is veering away from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010, but the storm's outer winds could disrupt oil spill containment and clean up efforts. Flickr photo.

Hurricane Alex may not become an actual hurricane until Tuesday. But for now, tropical storm Alex, the first named storm of hurricane season 2010, appears to be heading away from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010. A hurricane watch has been issued for the coasts of south Texas and northeastern Mexico. On day 69 of the gulf oil spill about 116 million gallons of crude have fouled the gulf, according to government estimates.

Hurricane Alex could push oil ashore

A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours. If the tropical storm conforms to forecasts and becomes Hurricane Alex, the storm’s center isn’t expected to approach the area of the oil spill off Louisiana’s coast. But Stacy Stewart, senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, told CNN that Alex’s outer wind field could push oil from the spill farther inland and hinder operations in the area. It’s center is on a track from the Yucatan peninsula headed for the Texas-Mexico border.

Hurricane Alex threatens oil spill containment

Oil spill containment operations and efforts to cap the gushing well would likely be suspended if Hurricane Alex approached the northeastern part of the Gulf. ABC News reports that when Alex became the first named storm of hurricane season 2010 which began June 1, officials immediately worried what effect it could have on efforts to contain the millions of gallons of crude spewing into the sea and washing up on beaches.

Hurricane Alex could change course

As the storm continues to intensify, 50 mph winds extend up to 70 miles from the storm’s center. It is moving north-northwest near 7 mph. CNN reports that National Hurricane Center forecasters have not ruled out an easterly shift in Alex’s path. If Hurricane Alex were to change its present course, the oil spill cap placed over the blown-out well that is capturing some of the crude would have to be removed in the event of a hurricane. Other ships that are drilling two relief wells would also suspend operations. On their present schedule, the relief wells, considered the best hope to stop the leak, are projected to be done by August.

Crude oil futures sensitive to storm track

As hurricane season 2010 settles in, an indication of how oil prices may be affected by coming storms emerged. As Hurricane Alex veers away from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010, the Wall Street Journal reports that crude oil futures Monday backed off from seven-week highs. Even though the storm could make the affects of the oil spill worse, what matters more to the world is moreĀ  oil production, and fears that the developing tropical storm would disrupt oil production eased. As a result, prices for light sweet crude for August delivery fell 75 cents to $78.11 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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