Gulf Coast | KERA News

Gulf Coast

Associated Press

Tropical Depression Barry failed to unleash catastrophic flooding in New Orleans, but it still swamped parts of Louisiana with up to 17 inches of rain and transformed part of the Mississippi Delta into "an ocean."

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

Tropical Storm Barry is beginning to take a toll on the central Gulf Coast, bringing high winds and heavy rains to parts of southeastern Louisiana, where residents have been preparing to cope with flooding and power outages.

As Barry slowly approached land, an oil rig southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River reported "sustained winds of 76 mph and a wind gust of 87 mph," the National Hurricane Center said Friday.

In New Orleans, officials told residents to get off the streets and shelter in place.

Associated Press

New Orleans and a surrounding stretch of the Louisiana-Mississippi-Texas coastline braced for a possible hurricane this weekend that could swamp the streets of the dangerously low-lying city and leave water lapping at the tops of levees.

Kshithij Shrinath via Associated Press

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of tropical weather that could dump as much as 15 inches of rain in the state over the coming days.

A bloom of toxic algae has forced Mississippi to close 25 beaches along its Gulf Coast. State environmental officials say people can still visit the sandy beaches — but they should avoid any contact with the water.

The blue-green algae "can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting," the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality says. And it warns that exposure can affect pets.

From Texas Standard:

Texas Standard has covered the dangers nurdles pose to marine life on the Texas coast. Now, the Texas Observer reports that Formosa Plastics, a petrochemical company outside of Port Lavaca, can be held liable for violating state and federal pollution laws after a federal judge ruled against the company last week.

Nurdles are small pieces of plastic that look like hail.

From Texas Standard:

For some Texans, a mosquito bite can cause more than just an itch. From yellow fever to West Nile virus, there's a long history of mosquito-borne diseases in Texas, some of them causing serious harm or even death.

An oxygen-sapping, fish-killing swath of algae is headed to Gulf of Mexico this summer.

From Texas Standard:

On Sunday thousands of fish, crabs and other sea life washed up dead on beaches surrounding Galveston Bay. The Texas Department of State Health Services has warned people not to eat any seafood from the area, and it halted oyster harvesting in the bay indefinitely.

New Research Center Will Study Texas Sea Turtles

Apr 29, 2019

From Texas Standard:

The time of year for an annual ritual on the Gulf Coast is approaching  –  when Texans take to the beach to watch dozens of tiny turtles toddle from the sand down to the surf. There's certainly something special about watching sea turtles hatch, but there's some mystery, too. We still don't about where the turtles in the Gulf travel, and what habitats they use. That's why this week, Texas A&M University at Galveston announced the establishment of the new Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research.

From Texas Standard:

A new study shows Texas homeowners along the Gulf Coast have lost tens of millions of dollars of property value over a 12-year period ending in 2017 due to rising sea levels. The hardest hit city has been Galveston, followed by three other cities within 40 miles: Jamaica Beach, Bolivar Peninsula and Surfside Beach.

Amid Industrial Boom, Corpus Christi Officials Look To Meet Growing Water Demand

Nov 27, 2018
The inside of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant in El Paso on April 16, 2012. The facility produces 27.5 million gallons of water per day. It is the largest inland desalination plant in the world based on treatment capacity.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre

As more oil and gas facilities come online in the Coastal Bend, the city and port of Corpus — and a handful of private companies — are planning to build a bevy of seawater desalination plants.

An oxygen-deprived “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico would take decades to reverse, according to a study from the University of Waterloo in Canada.

The Trump administration is proposing dramatic changes to policies on offshore leasing for oil and gas, opening the door to radically expand drilling in waters that were protected by the Obama administration.

It's the "largest number of lease sales ever proposed, " Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters. The proposed plan to sell offshore drilling leases in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic over a five-year period was detailed Thursday.

It has become a rite of summer. Every year, a "dead zone" appears in the Gulf of Mexico. It's an area where water doesn't have enough oxygen for fish to survive. And every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration commissions scientists to venture out into the Gulf to measure it.