A tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico is losing steam.
Earlier today, the system continued to strengthen as it neared the site of the oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. But now the U.S. National Hurricane Centre says it will likely dissipate instead of becoming Tropical Storm Danielle, the fourth-named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
As a precautionary measure BP and Coast Guard officials halted drilling on a relief well intended to permanently plug the blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Engineers only have about 30 to 50 feet left to drill on the relief well, which is intended to allow BP to seal the leak with mud and cement.
Meanwhile, forecasters are keeping their eye on a tropical wave further out in the Atlantic. That system could become Tropical Storm Earl over the next few days.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center originally predicted this to be an extremely active season, with more than 20 named storms possible. That would make it the busiest hurricane season since 2005, when Katrina and Rita made landfall. Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lowered the outlook slightly from the report released in May, but they are still expecting an above-normal season overall. The updated forecast is calling for 14 to 20 named tropical storms.
With files from Andrea Stockton