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Hurricane Alex forces BP oil onto coast

Rough seas generated by Hurricane Alex pushed more oil from the massive spill onto US Gulf coast beaches yesterday as clean-up vessels were held up by the storm.

The hurricane was churning coastal waters across the oil-affected region on the Gulf of Mexico, with waves as high as 6ft and high winds forecast just off the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana to north-western Florida.

In Louisiana, the storm pushed an oil slick towards Grand Isle and the uninhabited Elmer's Island, dumping tar balls as big as apples on the beach.

“The sad thing is that it's been about three weeks since we had any big oil come in here,” marine science technician Michael Malone said. “With this weather, we lost all the progress we made.”

Skimming efforts off the coasts of Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi had mostly stopped, but scientists have said the weather could actually help break up the oil.

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