National

Jun 30, 2010 7:13 PM by Greg Boyce

Alex now a hurricane

MIAMI (AP) - Hurricane Alex strengthens to Category 2; winds at 100 mph, bearing down on the Mexican coast.

Forecasters say Alex will slam into south Texas and northern Mexico tonight or early tomorrow with winds around 90 mph. Low-lying Mexican fishing villages have
been evacuated. In Louisiana, the storm has generated high tides and large waves that have pushed tar balls ashore.

Alex is churning up big waves that are pushing oil onto beaches from the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. A marine science technician working on Louisiana's Grand Isle and Elmer's Island says the heavy seas are wiping out any progress, with tar balls the size of apples washing onto the beach.

Cleanup vessels that had been skimming the oil from the surface have been ordered to remain in their docks. The National Weather Service says the nasty weather will likely remain through tomorrow.

However, scientists says the rough seas and wind could have an up side, helping to break apart the oil and make it evaporate faster.

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