Potential tropical storm could hinder oil spill efforts


The National Hurricane Center this morning reported an area of low pressure in the Caribbean has a strong chance of becoming the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which could disrupt BP's oil spill cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

The weather system, located between the northeast coast of Honduras and Grand Cayman, is intensifying and has a 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm within 48 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The agency expects the system to become a depression, one step before a tropical storm, before it reaches Mexico's Yucatan peninsula at the edge of the Gulf.

"As the feature drifts west-northwestward across the Caribbean over the next few days, the combination of warm water temperatures and favorably weak wind shear could support development into a tropical depression or tropical storm," Heather Buchman, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc., wrote on her blog Wednesday before the latest hurricane center update.

Computer models show two possible scenarios if the weather system develops into a tropical storm, Buchman said. One heads north-northeast through the center of the Gulf of Mexico early next week, affecting regions from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, including the area where BP is trying to clean up its oil slick.

The other heads across the western Gulf toward Texas or Mexico and away from the spill.

Click here for the Bloomberg report.