NEW ORLEANS — Approaching storms forced crews to suspend drilling the final stretch of a relief well aimed at shooting a permanent underground plug into BP’s damaged oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, the government’s point man for the disaster said Tuesday.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said the suspension could mean a delay of two or three days in completing the relief well, one of the last steps toward ending any threat from the well that spewed more than 200 million gallons of oil over three months before a temporary cap sealed it in mid-July.

Crews will pop in a temporary plug to keep what they’ve drilled so far safe, but they won’t send workers back to land. They have about 30 to 50 feet left to drill. No oil has spilled since the temporary cap was mounted on top of the broken well and closed.

The new well is meant to allow BP PLC to pump mud and cement into the broken one from deep underground for a so-called bottom kill, a permanent seal that would complement a mud-and-cement plug injected into the top of the well last week.

Allen has insisted for days that BP go ahead with the bottom kill, even though the top plug appeared to be holding. On Tuesday, though, he said testing still needs to be done on the well before a final decision is made.

“I’m not sure we know that … I don’t want to prejudge whether we are going to do it or not going to do it. It will be conditions-based,” Allen said.

He later assigned a “very low probability” to the bottom kill not being done.

BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells said it’s “really a possibility” that cement that engineers pumped in through the top went down into the reservoir, came back up and plugged the annulus, which is between the inner piping and the outer casing.

Allen said officials were removing some boom that had been used to catch oil in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. He said the boom will be put in storage and be available for future use if necessary.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said there was a high chance that thunderstorms off southern Florida could strengthen in the next two days into a tropical disturbance headed over the gulf.

Wells said the current storm track has it “broadly coming over top our site.”

With no more oil spewing, federal authorities announced that a stretch of the gulf off Florida’s Panhandle was reopened for commercial and recreational fishing, a big business for the region.