Tropical Storm Alex could become Hurricane

Alex could become hurricane Monday or Tuesday

By Adrian Virgen

CAMPECHE, Mexico, June 28 (Reuters) – Tropical storm Alex became better organized as it slowly moved away from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and forecasters said it could become a hurricane on Monday or Tuesday.

Coast Guard officials have said they do not think the storm poses an imminent threat to oil-siphoning efforts at BP Plc’s (BP.L: Quote)(BP.N: Quote) blown-out Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.

But Shell Oil Co (RDSa.L: Quote) shut subsea production at the Auger and Brutus platforms in the Gulf due to the storm threat. It has evacuated nonessential workers from production platforms and drilling rigs in U.S.-regulated areas of the Gulf of Mexico oilfields. [ID:nN27622581]

Forecasters from the U.S. National Hurricane Center said “additional strengthening is forecast in the next 48 hours and Alex could become a hurricane” on Monday or Tuesday.

The storm is expected to make landfall again between Brownsville, Texas, and Tuxpan de Rodriguez Cano in Mexico, mostly sparing BP oil collection efforts.

Alex, the first named storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, had sustained winds of about 50 mph (85 kph) with higher gusts and was located about 75 miles (115 km) west of Campeche, Mexico. The system was moving northwest at 6 mph (9 kph).

The Mexican government kept the ports of Dos Bocas and Cayo Arcas, which handle 80 percent of all its export shipping in the Gulf of Mexico, closed Sunday afternoon citing bad weather and strong surf in the area.

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