Gulf oil spill: Hurricane warnings issued for Texas' southern coast and Mexico
VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico — Hurricane warnings were posted Monday evening for a stretch of Gulf Coast in southern Texas and northern Mexico as Tropical Storm Alex gained strength and appeared on track to become a hurricane before it makes landfall later this week.
Forecasters said the storm's path could push oil from the huge gulf oil spill farther inland and disrupt cleanup efforts.
Alex was swirling through the Gulf of Mexico with winds near 65 mph Monday night on a path that would take it near the Mexico-U.S. border sometime late Wednesday, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. The storm is expected to become a hurricane Tuesday.
Conditions late Monday afternoon led the center to believe the storm will be less powerful than previously predicted but still likely to gain hurricane strength, forecaster Todd Kimberlain said.
The hurricane warnings extend from Baffin Bay, Texas, south across the mouth of the Rio Grande to La Cruz, Mexico.
The tropical storm's center wasn't expected to approach the area of the oil spill off Louisiana's coast, said Stacy Stewart, senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center. But Alex's outer wind field could push oil from the spill farther inland and hinder operations in the area, Stewart said early Monday.