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Hurricane Harvey’s Environmental Impacts: A Summary of Regional Data

Hurricane Harvey brought record rainfall to the Houston-Galveston region and the Texas coast. In addition to the social and economic impacts, flood events raise short- and long-term environmental and public health concerns such as bacteria, oil, gasoline and chemicals in floodwaters, toxics associated with Superfund sites, and air quality. Because of hazards associated with gathering environmental data during and in the aftermath of hurricane and flood events, the availability and analysis of environmental impact data is often an obstacle to better understanding effects of these extreme events. During and after Hurricane Harvey, a number of public and private organizations mobilized to gather environmental impact data relating to Harvey.

The "Summarizing Hurricane Harvey’s Environmental Impacts in the Houston-Galveston Region" story map summarizes available environmental datasets to detail impacts associated with Hurricane Harvey. HARC worked with regional partners to acquire and analyze data and information about the flooding and related impacts such as storm-related spills, pollutants, Superfund impacts, water quality, air quality, and power generation. Through support from the Houston Endowment, the resulting analysis is made available to the public through narrative summaries, maps, and infographics in an ESRI story map. The story map gives information on the types of environmental impacts from flooding, study results including spatial analysis, charts and figures showing elevated levels of bacteria or toxins, time-lapse series showing air quality changes in the days post-Harvey and other critical results.

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