[Updated 10:10 p.m.] BP has begun evacuating non-essential personnel from three of their rigs in the far south of the Gulf of Mexico ahead of Tropical Storm Alex, a spokesman confirmed.
The evacuations did not apply to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response, BP spokesman Neil Chapman said.
The company began evacuating today and will continue tomorrow as a precaution. Chapman did not have an immediate number on personnel being evacuated, but said the evacuation will not effect production on the rigs.
Alex – the first named storm of what is expected to be a fierce Atlantic hurricane season – formed in the Caribbean on Saturday. As of 8 p.m. ET, it had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph as it headed toward Belize and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of Belize and the east coast of the Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula from Chetumal to Cancun.