Researchers from Rice University say Houston’s next big hurricane could be the city’s “doom.”
The imaginary hurricane — dubbed “Hurricane Isaiah” — could conceivably be one of the worst disasters in U.S. history.
Imagine a hurricane, imagine a hurricane like Matthew, aimed straight at the heart of the American petrochemical industry.
Houston’s next hurricane could be the city’s “doom,” researchers say.
Researchers from Rice University provided a worst-case hurricane scenario based on models and research, which they are calling “Hurricane Isaiah.”
The researchers say the yet-to-happen imaginary storm will likely be one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, adding that IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THE IMAGINARY BECOMES REALITY.
Isaiah is basically Hurricane Ike plus about 15 percent according to Jim Blackburn, co-director of Rice’s SSPEED Center. The researchers wanted to create a larger storm and put it in the worst conditions to see what Houston’s vulnerability is. IT IS IMMENSE. hOUSTON IS VERY VULNERABLE TO A BIG HURRICANE.
Blackburn’s worst-case scenario takes into account what the storm surge from a big hurricane could do to the Houston Ship Channel’s petrochemical complex and the people who live near it.
with a 25-foot surge, you’d be looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 million gallons of oil and hazardous substance being spilled. That would devastate Galveston Bay. A 25-foot surge would cover the entire Clear Lake area. It would flood the Houston Ship Channel all the way to downtown Houston.
In anticipation of the next major hurricane to hit the area, ideas have been floating around for years to protect the city from a devastating hurricane, including the construction of a coastal spine called the “Ike Dike” or measures to enhance levees that are already in place.
Unfortunately, there’s still no funding in place for those projects, which could cost several billion dollars.
We really haven’t come up with the right combination of the politics, money and the right ideas, and the environmental reviews to be in a position to finally move forward. But we’re getting closer all the time. The hardest thing to ask any of us to do is to spend money on something that may not happen for another 20 years or 30 years. It’s not until after it happens that it seems real. Then it’s too late.