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HOUSTON — Tropical Storm Alex won't hit the BP cleanup effort head on, but it is likely to push oil farther inland, toss around oil-prevention booms and delay BP's plan to double its oil-capture capacity, officials said Monday. Kent Wells, senior vice president of exploration and production, told reporters that Alex was not expected to interrupt current oil-capture systems or the drilling of a pair of relief wells intended to plug the leak by August. But Wells said Alex could cause a delay of up to a week in hooking up a third oil-capture system. "While we are on track for the end of June, it will be roughly a week after that, the 6th or 7th of July," he said. Moreover, by midweek boats skimming the sludge from the water may have to return to port for their own safety, and the floating oil-containment booms could be rendered useless by waves slopping over them and may have to be pulled out of the water. Alex is slowly intensifying and will likely strengthen into the first hurricane of the Atlantic season Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said. The NHC expects Alex to come ashore near the Texas-Mexico border early Thursday. Hurricane warnings were issued for the area Monday night. It could generate waves up to 15 feet high and winds of 20 to 30 mph on its outer edges that could pound the oil spill area, said Stacy Stewart, a specialist at the center in Miami. "That could exacerbate the problem there in terms of pushing oil further inland and also perhaps hindering operations," Stewart said. What forecasters are most concerned about, said Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center, is the slim chance that the distant storm could generate winds of 39 mph or so in the spill area, which would probably mean curtailing the cleanup. Crews may have to pick up booms in the storm's path before they get tossed around. "What boom they don't pick up — and there's miles and miles of it, so there's no way they can pick it all up — will end up back in the marsh," said Ivor van Heerden, former deputy director of Louisiana State University's Hurricane Center. At Grand Isle, La., crews already were packing up boom and moving other supplies and equipment, Coast Guard Cmdr. Joe Higgins said. He said Alex could send 2 feet to 4 feet of storm surge there. "We have had to move a lot of material from low-lying areas," he said. "Our concern now is the safety of the people working on this." Rough seas would also make skimmer vessels less effective and could put crews at risk. Pulling boats and crews off the water could cost precious time, said Nancy Kinner, co-director of the Coastal Response Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. Equipment has to be stripped down, packed and protected from the force of the storm, and then has to be reassembled and deployed again — a task that takes resources and hours away from cleanup and containment, she said. "It not only prevents you from being on the water, it delays you in how long it takes to get back on the water," Kinner said.