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Researchers: Texas Not Ready for Next Hurricane
Five years after Hurricane Ike slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast, researchers suggest the region may actually be more vulnerable to future storms than it was before, as its population and industry continue to grow without new safeguards.
...Hurricane Ike slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast, causing more than $30 billion in damage...
...more than 100,000 homes and businesses flooded...
...more than half a million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico as a result of Ike.
Five Reasons Houston Is Especially Vulnerable to Flooding
1. Houston’s geography makes rising waters particularly dangerous
The city is low-lying and most of the soil is clay...
2. A recent construction boom has impeded drainage
Large-scale developments—such as apartment and office complexes, shopping malls and roads—have added vast stretches of pavement to the Houston area. These expanses of concrete and asphalt inhibit drainage and worsen flooding, as, when heavy downpours hit, the rain flows into other neighborhoods rather than into the soil.
3. Flood protections have had trouble keeping pace with development
While flood protections have been strengthened in the region in recent years, local officials have been perpetually trying to catch up in newly developed areas where the effects of higher water levels are less known. Lax building regulations in the area also have allowed subdivisions to be built where flooding was inevitable, experts have said.
4. Building regulations haven’t taken into account historic flooding levels
New buildings erected in Houston are required to be built at 12 inches above 100-year-flooding levels—meaning there is a 1% chance of that the area will be inundated within a single year. Harris County, Texas—in which Houston is located—requires new buildings to be built at 18 inches above 100-year flood levels. But recent flooding in some parts of Harris County, reached 250-year- and 500-year-flooding levels, and Mr. Brody notes that almost half of insured flood claims are outside the flood plain boundaries.
5. Drainage systems are largely obsolete
The region is also weighed down by its outdated drainage systems. Its network of channels was built beginning in the early 20th Century to sustain only a 10-year flood, a milder—but more likely—event. Local officials have worked to widen existing drainage channels, but retrofitting them to a 25-year-flooding level is costly.
Houston is a sitting duck for the next big hurricane. Why isn’t Texas ready?
If a storm hits the region in the right spot, “it’s going to kill America’s economy,” said Pete Olson, a Republican Congress member from Sugar Land, a Houston suburb
Such a storm would devastate the Houston Ship Channel, shuttering one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Flanked by 10 major refineries — including the nation’s largest — and dozens of chemical manufacturing plants, the Ship Channel is a crucial transportation route for crude oil and other key products, such as plastics and pesticides. A shutdown could lead to a spike in gasoline prices and many consumer goods — everything from car tires to cellphone parts to prescription pills.
“It would affect supply chains across the U.S., it would probably affect factories and plants in every major metropolitan area in the U.S.,” said Patrick Jankowski, vice president for research at the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston’s chamber of commerce.
Houston’s perfect storm would virtually wipe out the Clear Lake area, home to some of the fastest-growing communities in the United States and to the Johnson Space Center, the headquarters for NASA’s human spaceflight operation. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses there would be severely flooded.
When the next big storm hits there, the effects will ripple across the globe. The Gulf Coast is home to roughly 30 percent of the United States’s proven oil reserves; The Gulf Coast and Texas hold 35 percent of its natural gas reserves. The refineries and plants encircling Galveston Bay are responsible for roughly 25 percent of the United States’s petroleum refining, more than 44 percent of its ethylene production, 40 percent of its specialty chemical feed stock and more than half of its jet fuel.
Houston is the second busiest port in the United States in terms of pure tonnage and one of the most important shipping points in the country for natural gas liquids.
Texans want Trump to help build 'hurricane wall'
Texas General Land Office (GLO) Commissioner George P. Bush sent President Trump the request in a letter, which was cosigned by more than 60 state and local leaders in Texas this week, asking for "$15 billion in federal funds to protect this vital area."
The Houston and Galveston bay areas are critically important to our national infrastructure, with 428 million tons of cargo flowing through the region annually. In fact, the Port of Houston and the Port of Beaumont are the 2nd and 4th busiest ports in the United States.
Just this year, Texas politicians asked President Trump to help build a different kind of wall:
originally posted by: six67seven
We all know what Houston is known for right.....?
Oil & gas.
Indeed, the models I just saw have it essentially barely going inland, sitting, coming back down to the coast, regaining strength, and one model had it heading straight for Houston.
Gas prices are already going up. Expect that to continue. We'll be lucky [economically speaking] if all that happens is gas prices go up for a bit!
Houston... we have a hurricane! (Harvey)
"Ike was the third most destructive storm in U.S. history after Katrina and Sandy."