A tropical storm predicted to slam Gulf and hinder clean up efforts. The National Hurrican Center forecasted on July 22, 2010 that tropical storm Invest 97 has a 70% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone expected to hit the Gulf of Mexico in 5 days or less.
Kent Wells of BP announced July 21, 2010 that operations to shut down and cement the first relief well constructed after the Deepwater Horizon platform steadily leaking oil into the Gulf since the April 20, 2010 explosion. Officials in the Gulf are watching the storm gathering momentum in Hurricane Alley near the Bahamas to determine on July 22, 2010 or the day following if evacuation is necessary.
Experts predict a hurricane or tropical storm will set back efforts to permanently cap and monitor the rig for 10 to 14 days. Admiral Thad Allen reported on July 21, 2010 that officials are discussing reopening the cap or closing it off, risking serious damage at the well head without close monitoring. ROV boats will remain deployed to keep close watch until the Gulf is official evacuated if a storm travels to the region.