Saturday, June 26, 2010
The first tropical depression of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season has formed in the Western Caribbean, but it is unclear if it will pass over the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Friday that the depression has winds of about 35 mph.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The peninsula separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico. The warning is in effect in Mexico from Chetumal north to Cancun.
BP would need about five days to move all of its equipment out of harm’s way if a storm threatens, BP spokesman Bill Salvin said. So far, the company hasn’t started that process.
“If a hurricane comes screaming through here, this is going to make a disaster movie look like a rehearsal,” said Robert Bea, an engineering professor at UC Berkeley.
BP is on target for mid-August completion of a relief well in the Gulf of Mexico, the best hope of stopping the oil that’s been gushing since April, the company said Friday. But this date will change if the ships drilling the relief wells must be moved to avoid a huge tropical storm.