Tropical Storm Alex is churning over the southern Gulf of Mexico and is expected to reach hurricane status by Tuesday morning, but, according to KATC meteorologist Dave Baker, Alex is likely to rendezvous with land near the Texas-Mexico border and bypass the oil in the Gulf.

In his Monday weather blog, Baker writes:

Waters across the Bay of Campeche are between 84 and 88 degrees, wind shear is absent, and plenty of moisture is lying in the mid levels of the atmosphere. This combination is a perfect environment for developing tropical systems. These conditions are expected to remain in place as the storm moves northwestward over the next couple of days. ...Significant storm surges are possible from Corpus Christi southward to Brownsville. Hurricane force winds are expected to extend up to 100 miles from the center, with tropical storm force winds present 200 miles from the center. Hurricane Watches have now been issued from Baffin Bay, Texas southward to La Cruz, Mexico.

The storm’s track is good news for the containment and clean-up effort related to the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster; a hurricane or even tropical storm off the Louisiana coast would at least complicate those efforts and would likely interrupt the drilling of relief wells, which at this rate aren’t expected to be completed until some time in August.

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