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Safety board urges chemical facilities to be ready for hurricanes


Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Washington — Chemical facilities “need to act now” to prepare for a hurricane season that’s predicted to be more active than usual, the Chemical Safety Board says.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently issued a forecast that increased to 60% from 30% the likelihood of “above-normal” activity in the Atlantic this hurricane season, which lasts through Nov. 30.

“Hurricanes and other extreme weather events can severely damage chemical facilities and cause chemical accidents that put nearby communities and facility workers in serious risk of harm,” CSB Chair Steve Owens said in a press release. “With this hurricane season predicted to be even worse than usual, chemical companies need to act now to make sure that their facilities can withstand the impact of a hurricane or other extreme wind event, including having reliable backup generators in case there is a loss of power to a facility.”

Per CSB, “serious chemical releases that resulted from, or were made worse by, loss of power” occurred during Hurricanes Harvey (August 2017) and Laura (August 2020).

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