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Tropical Storm Bonnie forces BP spill site evacuation

Thad Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral overseeing the Gulf oil cleanup, has ordered ships to evacuate the spill site ahead of Tropical Storm Bonnie.

“Due to the risk that Tropical Storm Bonnie poses to the safety of the nearly 2,000 people responding to the BP oil spill at the well site, many of the vessels and rigs will be preparing to move out of harm's way beginning tonight,” he said in a written statement. “This includes the rig drilling the relief well that will ultimately kill the well, as well as other vessels needed for containment. Some of the vessels may be able to remain on site, but we will err on the side of safety.”

Tropical Storm Bonnie formed earlier Thursday with winds of 40 mph in the eastern Caribbean, on a course that could take it into the BP oil spill zone.

The system is expected to bring scattered thundershowers to the Tampa Bay area this weekend.

Tropical storm warnings have been issued for the Miami area and much of South Florida.

The system brings Tampa Bay’s weekend rain chances to about 50 percent each day, said Juli Marquez, Bay News 9 meteorologist. It also might feel breezier.

“Today really looks to be the last day of the very hot, mainly dry conditions,” she said

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