NU Online News Service, July 26, 12:10 p.m. EDT
British Petroleum vessels have returned to the site of the worst oil spill in U.S. history after the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season came and went over the weekend without incident.
What was Tropical Storm Bonnie broke up and was downgraded to a tropical depression by late Saturday when it made landfall in Louisiana.
Reports Friday indicated that Bonnie was expected to hit Louisiana and/or Mississippi as a tropical storm, but a Guy Carpenter CAT-i report noted that wind sheer and dry air in the Gulf of Mexico prevented Bonnie from re-intensifying as it moved into the Gulf after making landfall in Miami.
Guy Carpenter said Miami sustained heavy rain and 40 mph winds, but no major damage was reported.
Fears that the storm would significantly delay oil spill cleanup efforts were also put to rest. Efforts to drill a relief well at the site were temporarily suspended, but a drilling rig returned to the area July 24 “and is taking steps necessary to reconnect with the well and resume drilling operations. These steps are expected to take a number of days,” BP said in a release.
Another drilling rig for a second relief well is also back in place, but work has been suspended to avoid interfering with the first relief well, BP said.
During a press briefing July 25, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, incident commander for the BP oil spill, said some of the oil spill could be displaced due to the storm. Adm. Allen said air surveillance efforts will attempt to reestablish where the oil is and redeploy response equipment for cleanup.