The U.S. National Hurricane Center says a low pressure system over the southeastern United States will move towards the Gulf of Mexico, site of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, and has a 30 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm in the next 48 hours.
Forecasters warned Sunday that the system could move over warm water in the Gulf by early Monday.
National Incident Commander Thad Allen, who is leading the government's response to the spill, said Saturday that work on a relief well designed to permanently seal the oil well that ruptured earlier this year will be completed after energy giant BP concludes a period of testing and planning. The relief well is in addition to the "static kill" procedure BP completed last week that involved pumping mud and cement into the well from the top.
BP's work on the relief well was suspended last week because of bad weather.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama swam in the Gulf of Mexico Saturday after stressing his commitment to help the area recover completely from the massive spill. Mr. Obama and his younger daughter, Sasha, swam at a beach in Panama City, Florida. Earlier, the president said capping the leaking well "marks an important milestone," but he added he will not be satisfied until the environment is restored.
Mr. Obama said officials will continue to monitor the Gulf of Mexico and remove any oil that reaches the sea surface or hits the shore. He also expressed his administration's commitment to helping the Gulf region's seafood and tourism industries, which have suffered severely from the spill.
He said the government would push BP to speed up claim processing for Gulf residents who have been harmed by the spill. Mr. Obama's trip to the Gulf Coast is his fifth to the region since the oil spill crisis began in April.
BP was leasing the Deepwater Horizon oil rig from Transocean when it exploded and sank. Halliburton did cement work on the well before the rupture. The April 20 explosion on the rig killed 11 people and ruptured the well, polluting the region's waters and much of the Gulf Coast shoreline. The oil leak was stopped with a temporary cap in mid-July.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters.