Storm Could Stop Spill Cleanup for 2 Weeks

'Top hat' would have to be turned off, releasing 840K extra gallons
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2010 2:52 PM CDT
Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill lines a small island in Barataria Bay near Port Sulphur, La., Friday, June 25, 2010.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
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(Newser) – A looming hurricane could force workers scrambling to slow or stop the Gulf oil spill back to shore—and release even more oil into the water, the Miami Herald reports. A weather system in the west-central Caribbean has a 70% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone over the weekend. If that happens, the Deepwater Horizon site would have to be evacuated, and the "top hat" that's been collecting some oil from the well would have to be turned off.

Coast Guard officials estimate the well would have to be left alone for 14 days. Federal officials say the "top hat" could collect about 840,000 barrels in that time. A hurricane would also force the boat crews collecting oil from the surface of the Gulf to stop, leaving that oil in the water as well.

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