Storm Bonnie weakens further over Gulf of Mexico

* Bonnie may soon dissipate into low pressure system

* Little current threat seen to Gulf oil patch

MIAMI, July 24 (BestGrowthStock) – The remnants of Tropical Storm
Bonnie weakened further on Saturday and it appeared less likely
to gain strength as it moved through the U.S. oil patch in the
Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

“We think that the system no longer has a threat of
becoming a tropical storm again,” said Lixion Avila, a senior
forecaster at the Miami-based hurricane center.

He said Bonnie, which was downgraded from a tropical storm
to a depression on Friday as it weakened on its trek from the
Caribbean, across Florida into the Gulf, could dissipate into a
broad area of low pressure if its sustained winds fall another
5 miles (8 km) per hour or so later on Saturday morning.

The approach of the storm has hampered efforts by BP Plc
(BP.L: ) (BP.N: ) to permanently plug its leaking oil well in the
Gulf.

It also prompted oil and natural gas producers to evacuate
many offshore workers, shutting in nearly 30 percent of Gulf
oil production and about 10 percent of gas output.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

For full spill coverage http:/link.reuters.com/hed87k

Link to the NHC: http:/www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Link to storm tracking:

http:/www.reuters.com/subjects/hurricanes
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

The Gulf of Mexico is home to about 30 percent of U.S. oil
production, 11 percent of natural gas production and more than
43 percent of U.S. refinery capacity.

Avila said there was still some chance the storm would
re-strengthen as it churned over warm Gulf waters en route
toward the mouth of the Mississippi River late Saturday night.

But the storm has become less organized and strenthening
was becoming less likely.

Bonnie was the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane
season, which began on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

Forecasters say this year’s hurricane season is expected to
be especially active.

Stocks

(Reporting by Tom Brown, editing by Vicki Allen)

Storm Bonnie weakens further over Gulf of Mexico