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Tropical storm Alex nears oil-hit Gulf of Mexico

Reuters

The Gulf of Mexico is set to be hit by the first major storm of the Atlantic season on Monday, raising fears that the clean-up of crude oil spilling out of a damaged BP well in the area could be affected. Tropical storm Alex has already caused chaos across Central America, triggering landslides and floods that killed at least ten people in Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.

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The Miami-based National Hurricane Center says that the storm is carrying sustained winds of 75 kilometres per hour as it enters the Gulf of Mexico some 100 kilometres southwest of Campeche, Mexico.

The NHC's long-term forecast predicts the storm will head over the Gulf of Mexico in the direction of the US-Mexico border. It said Alex could reach hurricane status within the next 48 hours.

Experts at the US National Hurricane centre say they do not expect Alex to directly hit the BP oil spill area off the southern US state of Louisiana, but it is possible that the storm could cause massive waves and winds, straining the current clean-up and containment operations.

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