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Friday, June 25, 2010

Caribbean Storms Strengthen, May Head for Oil Spill

The first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season has a 70 percent chance of forming this weekend, with one computer model indicating it could head into the Gulf of Mexico where BP Plc has a flotilla of vessels trying to clean up an oil spill.

A collection of thunderstorms was intensifying in the Caribbean off Honduras and Nicaragua, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said at 8 a.m. Miami time today. The center said its forecast for the system turning into a tropical storm would evolve over the next 48 hours as it heads toward Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.

“It’s favorable to become a tropical depression by tomorrow night, perhaps a tropical storm by the weekend and maybe even a hurricane by the end of the weekend or early next week,” said Jack Boston, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. “Right now the chances of it going over the oil or going to the west of it are about equal.”

Government forecasters say the hurricane season that started June 1 may be the worst since 2005, when storms including Katrina devastated New Orleans and damaged oil platforms and pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico.

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