By Daisy Luther
Survival Saturday is a round-up of the week’s news and resources for folks who are interested in being prepared.
This Week in the News
This week, Survival Saturday focuses on the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the largest rainfall ever to hit the continental United States. It’s important to remember that a disaster doesn’t end when the initial event is over. It’s a series of cascading events, and Hurricane Harvey has proven this to be true yet again.
Here are the stats:
About 70% of Harris County’s 1,777 square miles was covered with 1½ feet of water at some point after the deluge, flooding about 136,000 buildings, according to county officials.
…the storm killed at least 47 people, forced the rescue of more than 72,000 and caused as much as a $100 billion in damage. (source)
Another Explosion at Arkema Chemical Plant
Since a couple of days after the storm hit, officials from Arkema Chemical Plant in Crosby, Texas have warned that their plant was going to explode and there was nothing they could do about it. The system cooling the toxic chemicals stored at the plant were relying on generators to continue working. When the generators were flooded and ceased to work, officials warned that it was only a matter of time before the entire plant blew.
Small fires had been erupting across the plant, and last night, the second of nine trailers holding chemicals blew at around 6 pm Eastern time.
Rachel Moreno at the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office said that the explosion was a result of the product inside the trailers reaching its combustion state, which is causing the black smoke. She said that residents should be safe if they adhere to the one-and-a-half mile evacuation zone, and advised those who are near the site to shelter in place, close all their windows and turn off their air conditioning.
Moreno said no change was made to the evacuation zone.
This is the second of nine trailers at the plant that has caught fire. The trailers each contain liquid organic peroxides, which needs to be cooled to a certain temperature, otherwise it will explode. Officials said that three of the nine trailers have lost power, according to KPRC.
At least 18 people have been injured since the first fire earlier in the week. One of the injured complained of a burning sensation in the eyes and throat and was still feeling the effects, days later.
As reported this afternoon, the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office has ordered residents within a one-and-a-half mile radius to evacuate the area. In a conference call with reporters on Friday, Arkema President and CEO Rich Rowe said he fully expects the remaining trailers to catch fire, adding the best course of action would be to let the trailers “burn out.”
“The only recourse is to let the eight containers burn out,” Rowe said, according to ABC News. “It’s 500,000 pounds of material; let that material burn out.” (source)
Half a million pounds of volatile peroxides are stored at the plant in trailers, all of which are expected to blow up over the next few days. Arkema posted a partial list of the chemicals stored there.
The company also published a list of the toxic chemicals stored at the doomed facility on its web site, reposted below.
- 2-ETHYLHEXANOYL CHLORIDE DISTILLED
- ACETIC ACID 84%
- AROMATIC 100
- BENZOYL CHLORIDE
- CAUSTIC POTASH 45%
- CAUSTIC SODA 50%
- CUMENE HYDROPEROXIDE
- CUMENE HYDROPEROXIDE
- DIMETHYL HEXADIENE
- DIMETHYL HEXANEDIOL DH-S
- EPSOM SALTS
- HYDROGEN PEROXIDE 70%
- ISOBUTYLENE ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL
- MINERAL OIL, WHITE
- MINERAL SPIRITS ODORLESS
- MONOSODIUM PHOSPHATE
- NEODECANOYL CHLORIDE >=98.0% UNDISTILLED
- PIVALOYL CHLORIDE 95-100%
- PROPYLENE GLYCOL
- SODIUM BICARBONATE
- SODIUM CARBONATE ANHYDROUS LIGHT
- SODIUM SULFATE ANHYDROUS
- SODIUM SULFITE ANHYDROUS
- SULFUR DIOXIDE
- SULFURIC ACID 93% REAGENT ACS
- T-BUTYL HYDROPEROXIDE 70%
All of these substances are now expected to burn down, many in volatile, explosive fashion, in the coming days. (source)
At this point, winds are not propelling the smoke and fumes outside the evacuation zone, but as we’ve seen, during the aftermath of this storm, anything can happen, and there are still 7 trailers left to blow.
Gasoline Prices Spiking Across the Nation
Refineries in Houston have been shut down, as have gasoline pipelines leading to other parts of the country. As a result, Americans are seeing the highest fuel prices of the year. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean there is a fuel shortage. The shutdown of operations is a preventative measure due to the ferocity of the storm.
According to AAA:
The states with the largest increases since Friday, when Harvey came ashore in Texas, include:
- + 19 cents – South Carolina $2.26
- + 18 cents – Delaware $2.38
- + 17 cents – Kentucky $2.42
- + 16 cents – Georgia $2.39, Missouri $2.30 and North Carolina $2.36
- + 14 cents – Maryland $2.43
- + 13 cents – Alabama $2.22 and Kansas $2.34
- + 12 cents – Mississippi $2.21, Oklahoma $2.24, Tennessee $2.26 and West Virginia $2.47
- + 11 cents – Arkansas $2.21, Iowa $2.40, Michigan $2.59, Texas $2.26 and Virginia $2.24
The last time the national gas price average was $2.50 was two years ago in August of 2015. (source)
I suspect it will be several weeks at the very least before prices decrease.
Insurance Won’t Cover the Damage for Most People
The aftermath is leading to a brand new shock for the majority of people who lost everything in the disaster: their homeowner’s insurance will not cover the damage.
Only 17 percent of homeowners in the eight counties most directly affected by Harvey have flood insurance policies, according to a Washington Post analysis of Federal Emergency Management Agency data. When disaster hits, the policies cover up to $250,000 in rebuilding costs and $100,000 to replace personal belongings such as TVs and furniture.
Everyone else who loses their home to flooding will be dependent on private charity and government aid, especially grants from Federal Emergency Management Agency. (source)
FEMA grants are capped at $33,000. It’s very important to note that many of the areas that flooded in this hurricane were not in flood plains. This was completely unprecedented.
And these people have truly lost everything. Those who take on loans to rebuild face financial ruin. Those with mortgages will have to continue making monthly payments for homes that can’t be lived in. This is an economic catastrophe for most of the people who were hard-hit by the floods of Hurricane Harvey.
Looters and Disaster Scammers Victimize the Victims
Looters, sadly, are a part of disasters. And the aftermath of this hurricane is no different. Yesterday, I posted a viral video of a Houston man who stood outside a convenience store with a shotgun, determined to protect his neighborhood. Many homes have the warning sign, “You loot, we shoot” posted on the outside. And folks, this is Texas. I’m pretty sure they’re not bluffing at ALL.
As well, some of the dregs of humanity see the disaster as a money making opportunity and they’re going out posing as FEMA inspectors.
People are reportedly impersonating City of Houston and Federal Emergency Management Agency inspectors, according to a statement from the city. They are apparently knocking on doors and attempting to break into residents’ homes. Both FEMA and city employees wear clearly labeled photo badges. The city encourages people to ask for properly labeled identification from those posing as city or FEMA employees. (source)
But that isn’t the only scam. Others target altruistic Americans as well as those who are victims of the flood.
Targeting both Harvey victims and those looking to donate to relief efforts, scam artists are using the storm – and people’s sense of charity – the swindle thousands of dollars from unwitting targets. In order to prevent any more victims, Fox News has compiled a list of some of the more popular scams and how to avoid them. (source)
The scams include:
Flood Insurance Scams: Numerous homeowners and renters throughout Texas and Louisiana are getting robocalls that inform them that their flood premiums are overdue. To make sure they’re covered for any damage from Harvey, the automated calls say, policy holders must pay immediately or risk losing it all.
Charity Scams: There have been numerous reports of people receiving phone calls, text messages, emails or posts on their social media accounts that ask for money for Harvey relief efforts.
Phishing Scams: These crooks send out messages via email or social media with links that promise to help you aid Harvey victims. Instead these links send you to bogus websites that can pinch your login and credit card information, infect computers with malware and even steal your identity.
Crowdfunding Scams: Over the last few years, crowdfunding has become one of the most popular ways for everybody from cancer patients to new businesses to raise money, with sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter leading the pack. But they could also be used by criminals as a way to bilk people donating to a cause, only to keep the money for themselves.
Copycat Scams: Similar to the phishing scams, these ploys use a name or URL that closely resembles that of well-known charitable organizations in order to trick people into thinking it is a real group. (source)
Get more details from Fox News here.
Flood Dangers Continue
The flooding isn’t over yet. Those near the Brazos River and public reservoirs are seeing waters rising. Both mandatory and voluntary evacuations have been issued for residents living near these water sources. (source)
As well, engineers are performing controlled releases of water from the Addick and Barker Reservoirs to prevent uncontrolled releases at the spillways.
Both reservoir outlet gates are open and releasing storm water into Buffalo Bayou. House flooding is occurring in adjacent neighborhoods, and roadways that run through the reservoirs are underwater.
Some 3,000 homes near Addicks reservoir and 1,000 homes near Barker are inundated due to water release, Lindner said Wednesday morning.
After an area of the levee eroded on Wednesday morning, officials enforced mandatory evacuations for residents in the Cyprus Creek/Inverness Forest subdivision. Officials said a breach is not likely, but possible.
A portion of the levee eroded after water came over the top of the intake system. Several agencies worked on Wednesday to remedy the situation by bringing sand to the area. (source)
As well, there are many major health hazards related to flood water. As people try to clean up their homes and salvage their belongings, they’ll be exposed to all sorts of concerning threats, like diseases, injuries, insects, and displaced wild animals. This article goes into detail about them so you can be better prepared.
The next disaster is already en route to our shores.
In the week ahead, people on the East Coast are growing concerned about Hurricane Irma, a tropical storm in the Atlantic that is so strong some meteorologists want to give it a new category: Category 6.
To put this in perspective, Hurricane Katrina was a Category 3 when it made landfall and Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4. Hopefully, Irma will lose power or veer away from the Eastern coastline, but at this point, she’s loaded for bear and could bring winds of more than 180 miles per hour. (Go here for more information about Irma.) If Irma does not change course (fingers crossed that she does), the storm is expected to make landfall toward the end of this week.
A storm like this will not just affect the coast. This map shows how far inland the effects may be felt.
Are you prepared for an epic disaster? Because it looks like few places are safe anymore. And keep in mind, it isn’t just the disaster you have to worry about. It’s the aftermath of power outages, crime, and disease.
- Have a supply of emergency food (This article can help you build one fast and you can order emergency buckets of food here.)
- Have a way to cook indoors even if the power is out (This is what we use.)
- Have an emergency water plan (Read my book, figure out a way to store water, and have a high-quality filtration device)
- Have an evacuation plan and be ready to leave before the official order is given so you don’t end up in gridlock… or worse.
- Have a preparedness plan that is specific to the needs of your family’s special needs and location (Our next course begins on Sunday – we can help you create a customized plan – go here for details.)
- Be prepared to defend your family and your property – this article explains why preppers need guns.
You really don’t want to be out there at the last minute, fighting with someone over the last case of water at WalMart.
Other Articles of Interest
- Without Rule of Law: Video Shows Man With Shotgun Protecting His Houston Neighborhood
- The World Chooses Sides: The US Dropped Bombs at the North Korean Border
- 10 Hurricane Harvey Stories That Will Give You Hope for America
- What To Do AFTER The Disaster – Free PDF
- Some “Charitable Humans” Aren’t Very Giving Toward “Red State” Texas
- North Korea Escalates with a Missile Over Japan; Citizens Warned to Take Cover
- Here’s Why I Completely Changed My Family’s Long-Term Survival Plan
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Are you wondering about the Prepping Intensive course that I teach with Lisa Bedford? It’s an 8-week course that is absolutely loaded with information to help you customize a survival plan that works for your family. Our suggestions are budget-friendly and we work with you to solve specific concerns based on any special needs that you or your family might have, like handicaps, chronic illnesses, special diets, or living in a place that might, at first glance, seem less than ideal. I think my very favorite part of the course is the live webinars. I personally changed my entire long-term survival plan based on questions I was able to ask Selco and FerFal during webinars. (Go here to read more about how I changed my plans.)
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- Full-Length PDF of The Pantry Primer
- Full-Length PDF of Emergency Evacuatons
- Full-Length PDF of One Second After the Lights Go Out
- Full-Length PDF of Army First Aid Manual
- Full-Length PDF of A Prepper’s Anthology of the Collapse of Venezuela
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Anything to add to Survival Saturday?
Do you have any news links you want to share? What are your thoughts on the topics above? Now’s the time! Please post your links in the comments section below and join the discussion
Prices locally for regular gasoline have risen dramatically in the past week.
Saturday, August 26 – $2.24 gallon
Friday, September 1 – $2.69 gallon
The people in or around Beaumont, Tx. have to drive about 2 hours to get gas. We are running supplies to three different shelters outside of Beaumont.
The water situation there is even more dire, isn’t it? Seeing that they are having to pass out water and limiting how much each person can get. All the more reason to make sure you always have a good quantity of drinking water and other water on hand and don’t waste any when you have to use your stockpile.
We may see additional effects from Hurricane Harvey.
Harvey Causing “Unprecedented” Disruptions To Supplies Of “Essential” Chemicals
“The unprecedented destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey will impact the US economy in ways may not be immediately apparent. Until recently, coverage of the storm’s impact has focused on property damage and the impact on the energy industry. But in a story published Friday, Bloomberg explains the devastating impact the storm has had on Texas’s chemicals industry, which is already causing supply-chain headaches for American manufacturers who’re struggling to source the chemicals required to produce plastics and other components used in everything from milk jugs to car parts.
Indeed, if Texas’s chemicals plants are closed for an extended period, production at a potentially huge number of American manufacturers to grind to a halt.”
“Texas alone produces nearly three quarters of the country’s supply of one of the most basic chemical building blocks. Ethylene is the foundation for making plastics essential to U.S. consumer and industrial goods, feeding into car parts used by Detroit and diapers sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.”
Another thing to consider is to check out what companies or businesses near you make or sell hazardous materials. I had noticed when moving here that there was a plant near by that makes pesticides and fertilizers. When I asked was told they had sold out to another company that just uses the facility to make and store various seeds. Not really sure I believe that. They are about five miles from where I live. You need to know, just for situations like that factory in Houston, when that place might become dangerous to you or your home and family. And you need to know if their product might explode, if when it explodes will it send toxic fumes and which ways are the prevailing winds, aka will it head your way. And it would be helpful to know that in advance of the problem, and not five minutes before it is expected to happen.
Fox News (notice the banner on the Fox News screen today 9/2/17 showing the predicted path of hurricane Irma. The banner reads ” Irma’s Steering” i.e it’s intentional and in-our-face
Here’s something else to consider with regards to weaponized weather warfare and predictive programing:
The rainmaker starring Burt Lancaster as Starbuck
Small town scene:
(Traveling salesman named Starbuck is standing on his wagon surrounded by onlookers. He’s got six torches burning around him. He’s also got additional poles that look like metal yard-art slapped together that resemble small versions of HAARP now used for weather modification)
Starbuck: “I say to you; I tell you, Tornado. I said a Tornado, that’s a terrible thing ! A terrible thing! I saw a little town in Idaho, pretty and green and the grass looked like it would live forever. Saw that same town, the same night after a tornado blew through that place. Why, there wasn’t a single blade of grass, or even one tired little butter cup, and everybody gone. The men ran north and the women ran south! The dogs ran east and the cats ran west! Nobody left in that town , but a little boy hauling down the main street. Bowser! he was calling for his dog. Where’s my little dog bowser! Hello Tornado, goodbye town”
Cowboy from the crowd speaks up: “ah..we aint ever had a Tornado here”
Starbuck: “That’s what they said in Idaho.; said it in the morning, Tornado came at night”
Second cowboy from crowd skeptically speaks up: What do ya call that there pole”?
Starbuck: “Well I’m mighty glad you asked me mister, mighty glad indeed. I call it…a tornado
Suggesting to relatives here in New England that maybe we should all do typical winter preparedness early this year, just in case Irma hits and/or NK situation worsens.
It’s a gorgeous day, so no one is listening. Only time I’m mentioning. If nothing happens, at least I have a head start for winter.
Please remind everyone to …
. Have your prescription medicine on hand and all your basic medicine, first aid supplies etc.
. Keep you tank FULL of gas b/c you never know when you will need to get in your vehicle and leave.
. Have your pet supplies bought and ready so your pet is taken care of. DO NOT LEAVE THEM BEHIND.
. Make sure disabled neighbors and the elderly are taken care of. They will need you most. (Texans were very good to them during this last storm.
. Be sure you shop just prior to a storm so you’ll have everything you need.
. Have reading material handy, things for children to do in case of power outage and a long indoor stay.
. Be sure to have baby formula, diapers, everything you need to care for infants and toddlers during any emergency.
Pray, and stay safe, b/c nothing you have is more precious than your life and the lives of the ones you love. We can replace all the “stuff” but our lives can’t be replaced.
Back around 1976 I worked for USAA while attending college in San Antonio. Besides learning, in the classes we took, that floods are not covered by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, we also learned that appliances and electronics that were damaged or destroyed from lightning strikes during thunderstorms are also NOT covered by most policies. Ever since then I unplug any electrical appliance that can be safely unplugged (just about everything but freezers and fridges) during thunderstorms if I do not feel I can afford to replace it on my own. Even the window AC units. Better to be hot for a short period of time during a storm than to do without until you can replace it (them). I have actually known two families who were watching TV during a thunderstorm, only to watch it blow up in front of them when lightning hit a power line. Very frightening. I have also known several people who have had their computers or routers ruined by power surges during thunderstorms. To me, that is big bucks lost that I cannot afford, plus data possibly lost if not backed up. That does include washers and dryers as well. And you certainly do not want to be running anything like that during a thunderstorm. I even unplug my electric weather radio during thunderstorms and go to my battery operated scanner to follow the NOAA radio reports.
Truly a horrible situation for those in Texas. I hope that the recovery is swift and painless for everyone. Unfortunately, it is not guaranteed to happen ☹️
P.S Gas at $2.50? In Australia (adjusted to US measurements) gas is considered very cheap if it’s at $3.47 a gallon.
Okay, a big thing is to not accept the insurance companies first offer which comes out quickly, even with replacement value insurance. They are trying to lo-ball you when you are desperate and stressed. And it looks like they are being cooperative. Give yourself at least 2-3 weeks before accepting. When you’ve had time to read your policy and settle your emotions down.
Excellent advice. I had no idea you could do this!
When the adjuster came in my house a week and a half after the storm, 30 seconds later he said, “We’re paying the maximum allowed on your policy. They also bought the trailer we have been living in for the last two years. They paid for everything we needed to set it up, electrical, propane (including tanks!). We had the money in our hands in less than two weeks.
What company would do this? Texas Farm Bureau Insurance. The best there is.
It’s been two years to the day, we have been living in a 29 foot used Travel Trailer after Harvey. We lost our 110 year old farm house to black mold. If everything goes right, we will be in our new “Dream Home” in a month. (You have no idea how expensive building to “wind storm” specs is, in our case three times what we paid for our original house). We miss the home our kids grew up in and that we lived in for 35 years, but we look forward to our “golden years” in our new house. The Lord Provides.