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Weather Not Problematic for Rig Explosion Containment in Gulf

Wind and waves should be minimal through the weekend, working in favor of the firefighting effort aboard the natural gas drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.

The rig, owned by Hercules Offshore and located about 42 miles southwest of Grand Isle, La., began spewing natural gas uncontrollably from a well on Tuesday.

Winds were gusting to 16 miles per hour Wednesday morning and before picking up to 10 to 20 miles per hour in the afternoon and evening.

"If the fire was over land, it would be more worrisome," according to Expert Meteorologist Dave Samuhels, as wind could fan the flames and allow the fire to spread.

Though a chance for a shower or thunderstorm exists tonight, it should stay relatively dry in the region through Friday. The likelihood of showers and storms will grow over the weekend.

Dorian, the latest tropical storm to form in the Atlantic, should play no role in the containment effort.

"Dorian will stay far enough North that it won't be an issue," Samuhels said. "If it did head for the Gulf, it would take at least 10 days to get there."

Should another tropical system develop in the next week, it could pose problems for any salvage efforts still underway.

"That would kick up the waves," Samuhels said. "Right now, though, chances of that are low."

Forty-four personnel on board have been evacuated from the rig without injury. The company maintains that no oil has been released into the environment.

Walter Oil and Gas Corporation has confirmed that all necessary governmental authorities have been notified of the incident, including the USCG and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

The company is working to minimize any potential impact on the environment, Walter Oil and Gas Corporation said in a press release.