Hurricane Alex thrusts oil onto Gulf beaches

Cleanup workers kept at bay

Alex, the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2010 season, was packing sustained winds of near 100 mph.

Hurricane warnings were posted for parts of the coast along Mexico and Texas. Except for the border area itself, though, most of the warning area is lightly populated.

As Alex approached, skimming efforts off the coasts of Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi had mostly stopped.

The rough seas and winds aren’t all bad, though — scientists have said they could help break apart the oil and make it evaporate faster.

The wave action, combined with dispersants sprayed by the Coast Guard, have helped break a 6-by-30-mile oil patch into smaller patches, Coast Guard Cmdr. Joe Higgens said.

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