US President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in Texas as tropical storm Alex gathers strength and oil workers are evacuated
form rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
The President’s decision follows yesterday’s announcement by the National Hurricane Center that tropical storm Alex is the first official
hurricane of the 2010 season.
Obama’s action also authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts –
in such areas as identifying, mobilizing and providing equipment and
The US agency that regulates offshore oil and gas says operators on the western edge of the Mexican Gulf are evacuating platforms and rigs
in the path of Tropical Storm Alex but not those involved in the spill
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement estimates that this has halted nearly one-quarter of the Gulf of
Mexico’s oil production and more than 9 per cent of natural gas
It says based on reports from yesterday morning that 28 of 634 manned production platforms and three of 51 drilling rigs have been abandoned,
but drilling rigs and containment ships involved in the BP spill
response farther east are still working.
The President’s announcement comes after Texas Governor Rick Perry sent a letter to Obama requesting a pre-landfall emergency declaration.
Authorities issued hurricane warnings in Texas and northeastern Mexico yesterday as forecasters predicted that Alex would reach
hurricane strength within hours, Agence France Presse reported.
On its current path the center of Alex will make landfall just south of the U.S.-Mexico border late today, the National Hurricane Center
Alex appeared to be well southwest of the area worst hit by the massive BP oil spill – the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and
Florida – though its strong winds will cause problems for the clean-up
FEMA has already urged Americans to closely monitor the storm and be as prepared as possible.
“The most important thing for people living in the area to do right now is to ensure their family is prepared and to follow the
instructions of state and local officials,” said FEMA chief Craig