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Last night Hurricane Laura made landfall. Against expectations Houston and its Ship Channel, depicted in this map, remained unscathed.
People east of us were less lucky. The residents of coastal Louisiana got hit by 150-miles-per-hour winds plus violent storm surge. And at least one chemical plant – in Westlake, Louisiana – caught fire. It is releasing chlorine as I write this.
Had the hurricane landed further west, in Galveston Bay, we might now be experiencing Westlake times fifty. To see why, look at this map of chemical plants along the Houston Ship Channel, which I created with information from Google Maps:
A Map of Houston Chemical Plants Reveals the Danger from Hurricane
(You may also go here to view the map in full size)
The pins – over 100 in all – represent chemical plants. You’ve probably heard some of the names before:
- Chevron Phillips
- Dow Chemical
- Sanyo Chemical Industries
- Total Petrochemicals
The pins show just what a concentration of petrochemical plants the Houston Ship Channel contains. If we allow them to get hit by hurricane storm surge and to start leaking, we’ll be sorry.
Let’s not wait another ten years to get started. Let’s use this map to remind us what’s at stake, explore our options for Houston hurricane preparation and build a structure to protect us and our environment.
This Houston and Nature episode (with transcript) takes a close look at the problem of storm surge and the alternative approaches to protecting us. The page also links to a number of valuable resources.