Gulf Crews, Residents Plan for Ugly Bonnie

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The name Bonnie means "pretty," but the storm bearing that name is expected to push more of the ugly, oily mess in the Gulf of Mexico onto Louisiana's already marred wetlands and beaches.

Tropical Storm Bonnie has blown through Puerto Rico and crossed over south Florida early Friday, bringing rain and 40 mph winds to Miami. Weather experts and Gulf residents are concerned Bonnie could be on a collision course with the oil spill.

"The winds are going to come out of the southeast to the east and drive some of the oil into the shoreline into Louisiana," said Jeff Masters, meteorologist for Weather Underground.

BP was about two weeks away from attempting to plug the damaged well through a relief well. But now everything is on hold. Officials estimate Bonnie could force workers away from the spill sight for two days to two weeks.

Even if the storm is not a direct hit, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said the rough weather will push back efforts to kill the well by at least a week.

The good news is, for now, crews feel comfortable keeping the vents closed on the cap that has contained the oil. Initially there were worries that the vents would have to be opened during a storm.

"It's all about getting all of the equipment on these rigs and these vessels tied down, go through your severe weather plans, make sure we know exactly at what point we have to make the final decision. And that varies by vessel," BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles said.

The one ship operating underwater cameras that show live pictures of the well will be evacuated last. It will be among the first to return after the storm.

Unsettled seas have already forced clean up crews to shore.

"Right now it's kind of rough you know. We've got five, six foot seas right now," shrimp boat worker Karl Adams said. "It's kind of rough for us to do anything. We put the booms down, but you get those type of waves you really can't do [anything]."

"Everybody is watching the weather [and] wants to know what the depression's going to do," boat captain Tony Spohn added.

Watching and waiting seems to be something Gulf Coast residents know how to do all too well.

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CBN News
Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at