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Hurricane Alex puts Gulf Coast at risk of oil coming ashore

Posted on Thursday, July 1st, 2010 at 11:38 am by

Hurricane Alex is grounding any booming and skimming operations through Thursday. This puts the Gulf Coast at risk of oil washing ashore, contaminating the marshes and bays. The affected areas could include much of the Gulf Coast, from the Mississippi to Florida’s Panhandle, said a Federal official. Hurricane Alex is created 7-foot-high waves and winds reaching upwards of 22 knots down in Mexico.

In addition to the rough seas, making it difficult for ships and miles of boom defending the shores, Hurricane Alex destroyed floating barriers put in place to protect vulnerable areas.

On Wednesday, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, said that Alex has been detrimental to the response efforts of fighting the oil before it reached the shore. Allen will transition to a civilian, and will head the Federal spill response efforts. “The big focus of our operations right now would be on water skimming, trying to deal with the oil offshore as much as we can,” said Allen, however “you can’t get more than 3- to 5-feet seas and you start having not very good results with skimming and booming.”

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