Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast late Friday and was downgraded to a tropical storm by mid-Saturday. But even a downgraded storm might depart an enduring influence on the Texas economic system and America’s power trade.
Vital power sources are in danger
Texas’s Gulf Coast is dwelling to key oil and gasoline amenities that make up almost a 3rd of the nation’s refinery functionality.
The storm pressured a number of refineries to shut and evacuate personnel. The Port of Corpus Christi, the nation’s main port for crude oil exports, and the Houston Shipping Channel have each shut down.
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“The impact on the energy industry could potentially be devastating” for the subsequent week, John LaRue, government director of the Port of Corpus Christi, informed CNNMoney.
Gas costs will spike
Many Americans will really feel Harvey’s influence on the pump, particularly drivers within the South, Southeast and mid-Atlantic.
A gallon of gasoline might value between 5 and 15 cents extra in elements of the nation, predicts Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst on the Oil Price Information Service.
Prices ought to fall again down by subsequent week, however that would change if injury from the storm is worse than anticipated.
A blow to Texas’s economic system
The storm threatens Texas’s recovering economic system.
The state’s unemployment price spiked final 12 months as oil costs dropped, however it had simply been beginning to present indicators of enchancment.
Extended refinery closings, environmental dangers and potential dwelling damages from Harvey all imperil that progress.
Refineries can usually return to work in every week or two after a storm, however some Louisiana refineries remained shut down for months after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
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If that occurs in Texas, it “would be devastating to not only our economy but the U.S. economy,” mentioned Jim Blackburn, co-director of the extreme storm middle at Rice University.
The value to rebuild
More than 200,000 properties sit within the tropical storm’s path, in keeping with analytics agency CoreLogic’s estimate on Friday.
Rebuilding these properties after the storm might value as much as $40 billion, the agency estimates.
The Houston metropolitan space would bear greater than half of the rebuilding prices: It’s one of the vital densely populated areas within the nation, with greater than 6.5 million residents.
Most properties in Harvey’s path don’t have flood insurance coverage, leaving homeowners with restricted choices if they should rebuild their properties after the storm.
Only 15% of properties in Harris Country, which incorporates Houston, have flood insurance coverage, in keeping with figures from the National Flood Insurance Program. Twenty p.c of properties in Nueces County, the place the coastal metropolis of Corpus Christie is positioned, are lined.