Hurricane Alex left quite an impression on it's brief journey through the Gulf of Mexico. The eye of the class two hurricane narrowly missed south Texas by some 100 miles, and continues to blanket the Gulf region in thunderstorms and tornadoes.
While no one was injured in the US, Mexico was not so lucky, as Alex travelled further inland, making a direct hit on that nation's second largest city, Monterrey. Hardest hit, was the area near the normally dry flood channel, the Santa Catarina river, which swelled beyond capacity Authorities there have declared six dead so far in cleanup efforts that have left the region in disarray.
The Mexican government has declared an emergency in the region, but reports from state authorities there have declared that electrical and phone service has been restored to most customers, despite more than 300 utility poles reported fallen over by the wind. PEMEX, the national petroleum consortium also stated that the nation's offshore oil and natural gas platforms were undamaged by the hurricane.
On the US side of the Gulf, Alex proved a bane for cleanup, as oil washed up on more than 450 miles of coastline between Louisiana and Florida. Containment booms were also disrupted by the high waves caused by the hurricane.
Despite the setbacks caused by Alex, containment efforts at the well source were unaffected, and new efforts to skim the oil slick are being put into force, incorporating new volunteers from other nations, eager to help in the cleanup effort.
The largest profile of these new additions to the cleanup flotilla is Taiwan's "A Whale," a converted 300 yard supertanker that takes in seawater and filters out the crude oil, while returning clean water back into the sea. The new vessel is being tested for 48 hours under Coast Guard auspices, but the owners claim the proof of concept vessel is capable of skimming 21 million gallons of oil a day.