Tropical Storm Bonnie Could Pass Over BP Oil Spill


As if residents on the Gulf Coast didn't have enough to deal with, a tropical storm is now headed their way.

Bonnie is on a course that could take it over the BP oil spill by the weekend.

Dozens of oil cleanup ships are moving out of Bonnie's way.

"While this is not a hurricane, it's a storm that will have probably some significant impacts, and we're taking appropriate cautions," said the Coast Guard’s National Incident Commander, Adm. Thad Allen.

Adm. Thad Allen issued the evacuation order Thursday night just hours after the system turned into a tropical storm.

By Saturday, Bonnie could be churning in the Gulf. The government is allowing BP to keep its cap in place confident it will hold, but that means the ruptured well will go unwatched for days.

"We have to take actions because we have to make sure people are safe,” said BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles. “That's our first priority."

Even if it's not a direct hit, the rough weather will likely delay efforts to plug the well by at least a week.

Tara Mergener reports, “But there is some good news. The government is allowing commercial and recreational fishing again in roughly one-third of the waters.”

In Mobile Bay, Ala., shrimp season opens Friday, two months behind schedule.

"We're getting everything ready, hook[ing] our nets back up -- go get ice and fuel," said shrimper Sonny Nowell.

Experts say shrimp caught in the area have shown no traces of oil. Local shrimpers hope that's enough to convince buyers.

"[It] ain't no use to even catch them if we can't even sell them," said Nowell.

But catching anything in the region could still be a challenge with Bonnie threatening to stir up new trouble.

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