As Storm Moves In, A Wait-and-See in the Gulf

Thursday, July 22, 2010

NASA recently released pictures showing the view from space of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (NASA)

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predict a tropical storm swirling near the Bahamas on Thursday will move north and west over the next two days, and could grow stronger.

That could bring the storm right into the part of the Gulf of Mexico where BP crews are preparing to permanently seal a damaged well. At a press briefing Wednesday, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said engineers were closely monitoring weather conditions and a new containment cap over the well.

A major storm, he said, would force the evacuation of ships collecting oil nearby. But on Thursday, Allen announced the newly-capped well would remain sealed, according to the Associated Press.

The inclement weather comes as BP is preparing to pump heavy mud and cement into the top of the damaged well, finally sealing it and capping the nation's worst oil spill. According to the AP, Allen said a weekend storm could hold those efforts up for up to two weeks.

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