More than two months after oil from BP's blown-out sea floor well first reached Louisiana, tar balls are now washing onto a Texas beach, meaning the crude has arrived in every Gulf state.
While it's not clear if five gallons of the oil came naturally on the currents or was dragged by a passing ship from elsewhere, tests show the oil confirmed from the Deepwater Horizon spill.
The oil also trickled deeper inland Tuesday, toward the shores of New Orleans.
Oil sheen and tar balls from the Deepwater Horizon gusher have been spotted in Lake Pontchartrain, the huge lake forming the northern boundary of the city that was rescued in the 1990s from rampant pollution.
``Our universe is getting very small,'' said Pete Gerica, the 57-year-old president of the Lake Pontchartrain Fishermen's Association. He has fished in the lake his entire life. ``It's shrinking daily.''
Meanwhile out in the Gulf, stormy conditions have delayed the hookup of a new containment vessel, the Helix Producer, to the cap collecting oil from the gushing well head on the seafloor. Officials had originally hoped to connect it on Wednesday. A new target date hasn't been announced.
The weather also delayed the arrival of a Navy airship that will serve as a floating observation post above the Gulf. It is now expected to arrive in Mobile, Ala., on Friday.
Earlier on Tuesday, in an interview with CNN, Allen said that a massive Taiwanese oil skimmer -- which has been undergoing testing -- was slow to maneuver in the area crowded with small vessels.
Testing of the ship -- called ``A Whale'' and billed as being capable of sucking up 21 million gallons of oil water a day -- is still ``inconclusive,'' Allen said.
The number of tar balls discovered in Texas is tiny compared to what has coated beaches in other Gulf states.
``It was just a matter of time that some of the oil would find its way to Texas,'' said Hans Graber, a marine physicist at the University of Miami and co-director of the Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing.
Hurricane Alex, which blew through the Gulf last week and made landfall along the border between Texas and Mexico, may have played a small role in bringing the oil ashore in Texas by increasing the westerly current near land, Graber said. But it was more likely due to normal coastal currents and local weather patterns.
The distance between the western reach of the tar balls in Texas and the most eastern reports of oil in Florida is about 550 miles. Oil was first spotted on land near the mouth of the Mississippi River on April 29.
Rough seas also kept clean-up vessels idle off the coasts of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi over the holiday weekend, officials said. The current spate of bad weather is likely to last well into this week, according to the National Weather Service.
*Miami Herald reporters Jaweed Kaleem, Jim Wyss, Fred Tasker and The Associated Press contributed to this report.