Tropical storm could suspend oil clean up operations.

Monday, June 28, 2010 - 3:51pm

All eyes are on Tropical Storm Alex as it inches towards the Gulf of Mexico.

Alex is forecast to take a westward track toward Mexico or south Texas, avoiding a direct hit on the area affected by the oil spill, but the storm will kick up wind and waves making cleanup efforts more difficult.

Alex is the first storm of what is predicted to be a very active hurricane season, and officials are watching the track carefully.

If Alex or any other storm approaches the Deepwater Horizon spill site officials will stop the cleanup process five days before gale force winds would hit.

38,000 workers and 6,000 vessels would all need time to move to safety.

Such an evacuation would mean unhooking the containment dome and halting relief well drilling, moves that would leave oil flowing freely into the gulf for up to two weeks.

For now, work to stop the oil is on track.

One of the relief wells has penetrated 12,000 feet and has made the turn to intercept the bad well.

It should be completed sometime in August.

Meanwhile, back on shore it's an around the clock effort.

Heavy equipment is in place so are crews are working day and night to cleanup Pensacola's normally pristine beach.

The costs are mounting.

BP says its tab for cleanup and claims has now reached $100 million dollars per day.
 

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