Disaster cleanup from Hurricane Harvey is now bound up in Washington's brewing budget-related brouhaha, as Congress tries to fix the National Flood Insurance Program before authorization runs out at the end of September. The latest TipSheet explains, plus offers ideas and resources for localizing flood insurance stories.
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"Officials in Houston are just beginning to grapple with the health and environmental risks that lurk in the waters dumped by Hurricane Harvey, a stew of toxic chemicals, sewage, debris and waste that still floods much of the city."
"Residents of cities in Jefferson County, Tex., about 100 miles east of Houston, were desperate for help Wednesday morning after rain there caused floodwaters to rise precipitously and lightning made things particularly difficult for those responding to the storm."
"As rain poured and floodwaters inched toward his house in south Houston, Wes Highfield set out on a risky mission in his Jeep Cherokee. He drove in several directions to reach a nearby creek to collect water samples, but each time he was turned back when water washed against his floorboard."
"ExxonMobil acknowledged Tuesday that Hurricane Harvey damaged two of its refineries, causing the release of hazardous pollutants."
To help environmental reporters track the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, SEJournal has compiled a series of resources, starting with a Toolbox on Hurricanes that includes government, news and other sources, seasonal forecasts, background science and an SEJ hurricane archive. Also see our Hurricane Issue Backgrounder and TipSheets on hurricanes and on flooding, an Inside Story on how one SEJ Award-winner looked ahead at the prospect of a perfect storm for Houston, plus the latest hurricane headlines from EJ Today (subscribe).
"The National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm watch for parts of North and South Carolina."
"Around 13 million people are under flood watches and warnings stretching from Corpus Christi to New Orleans as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey menace the already drenched Texas and Louisiana."
It's a deadly threat only fitfully reported by news media. But coverage of insect-borne diseases could be improved by environmental journalists who understand the intersection of bugs, humans and climate. A two-part Issue Backgrounder with basics, key resources and a rundown on significant illnesses brought by mosquitoes, and by ticks and other insects.
"Harvey continued to intensify as it steered for the Texas coast, with the forecasters saying early Friday that it had strengthened to a Category 2 storm."