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The first hurricane of the season has put the brakes on the oil clean-up operation around the Gulf of Mexico. Oil-skimming ships have returned to port, and dispersant flights and controlled burns have been halted, the BBC reports. BP, however, says major efforts to contain oil from the Gulf spill are continuing despite Hurricane Alex, which has strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane and is expected to make landfall near the Texas-Mexico border today.
Weather conditions have forced officials to move barges that were protecting wetland areas, and along the Louisiana coast, waves 10 to 15 feet high are washing oil onto beaches, some of which had just been cleaned of oil. “The timing of it wasn’t ideal because the oil was right at our doorstep when all these waves came,” a Coast Guard official tells NPR. “Those two factors together make it a mess right now.”