Pushed inland by winds and waves from Hurricane Alex, oily seawater hits a Port Fourchon, Louisiana, beach Wednesday, staining oil-absorbing booms a rusty brown.
Until yesterday, the Port Fourchon beaches were relatively clean of oil. But even with Hurricane Alex hundreds of miles away, off northern Mexico and western Texas's Gulf shores, the storm's outer bands were pushing heavy plumes of oil from BP's Deepwater Horizon spill into the region for the first time since late May. (Full story: "Hurricane Alex Pushes 'Worst Oil' Ashore; Cleanup Slowed.")
Cleanup operations along most of nearby Grand Isle and parts of adjacent Lafourche Parish were called off most of Tuesday and Wednesday due to rough waters and flooding from Hurricane Alex. No crews were permitted to scour the beach for oil, and few skimming boats were sent out to corral the oil with absorbent booms.
"This is the worst oil we've seen yet, and"—with no one around to clean it up—"this is the absolute worst time for the oil to be here," said Wayne Keller, executive director of the Grand Isle Port Commission.
—With reporting by Christine Dell'Amore in Fourchon Beach and Lafourche Parish, Louisiana