Tropical storm warning for site of BP oil spill
BP workers in the Gulf of Mexico have stopped drilling a relief well and are preparing to evacuate the oil spill site as a tropical depression nears.
There is a 20-30% chance of tropical storm force winds (39mph or more) at the spill site by Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center says.
Because of the slow-moving vessels at the spill site, evacuation plans are already well under way.
Work on the relief well could be suspended for up to two weeks.
A “packer” – a plug used during storms – has been placed in the relief well to stabilize it.
The government’s incident commander, Thad Allen, along with BP, must decide whether to leave the well shut during any storm, or to open it and allow oil to gush out into the sea.
The tropical depression is over the Bahamas but is traveling west-northwest at 15mph. It could become a tropical storm later day. Storm warnings are in force in the Bahamas and on much of the Florida coastline.