Nearby Lightning May Have Started Fire on BP Drillship Tuesday

June 15, 2010; 3:01 PM ET
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It is possible a fire onboard a BP drillship Tuesday at the site of the massive oil leak in the northern Gulf of Mexico was started by lightning.

The small fire halted oil capturing operations for time Tuesday.

Very spotty thunderstorm activity fire up over the north-central Gulf Tuesday. Radar and lightning strike information indicated that one such thunderstorm had developed in the general vicinity of the well site.

The small blue squares on the map indicate lightning strikes spanning approximately 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. CDT, just to the southwest of the fire.

The fire was noticed around 9:30 a.m. CDT and was extinguished shortly thereafter.

Capturing operations of the escaping oil had resumed as of the mid-afternoon Tuesday, following safety inspections.

Very hot, humid air was hanging over the Gulf Coast and was contributing to the formation of spotty thunderstorms as well as poor air quality in the vicinity of the oil slick.

The weather pattern will favor additional spotty thunderstorm activity over the northern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday evening and during most afternoons and evenings through the end of the week.


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