Though natural disasters are inherently chaotic and unpredictable, there’s one thing about them you can always rely on.

Whenever disaster strikes, you know it’s going to spawn more disasters. Hurricane Harvey is no exception.

The storm hasn’t just flooded homes and business.

It has caused fuel and food shortages, lootings, and will likely soon cause disease breakouts from people coming into contact with the toxic flood waters.

But that’s not all.

Apparently, the storm could lead to a massive industrial explosion.

Since Monday a chemical plant in the town of Crosby (which is just outside of Houston), has been struggling to deal with the flood.

The substances within the facility are unstable, and according to the CEO of the company that owns the building, they could burst into flames in the very near future.

“We have an unprecedented 6 feet of water at the plant,” Arkema President and CEO Rich Rowe said in comments made Wednesday. “We have lost primary power and two sources of emergency backup power.

“As a result, we have lost critical refrigeration of the materials on site that could now explode and cause a subsequent intense fire.

The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it,” he said.

Rowe added: “We have evacuated our personnel for their own safety.

The federal, state and local authorities were contacted a few days ago, and we are working very closely with them to manage this matter.

They have ordered the surrounding community to be evacuated, too.

Residents within a 1.5-mile radius of the facility, which is near Houston, have been told to leave, according to the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.

So far this doesn’t appear to be a case of a neglectful company that failed to prepare for a disaster.

It looks like Arkema has done everything it could to secure its chemicals, and there isn’t much that can be done now to prevent an explosion.

Since there’s no electricity and no way to reach the building, it’ll be a miracle if this doesn’t end in disaster.

The problem faced by Arkema is that the chemicals in the facility need to be kept at a stable temperature.

With the flooding, it appears that power has been knocked out, and the refrigeration system has broken down.

According to a statement that was recently posted by the company:

Our Crosby facility makes organic peroxides, a family of compounds that are used in everything from making pharmaceuticals to construction materials.

But organic peroxides may burn if not stored and handled under the right conditions.

At Crosby, we prepared for what we recognized could be a worst case scenario.

We had redundant contingency plans in place.

Right now, we have an unprecedented 6 feet of water at the plant. 

We have lost primary power and two sources of emergency backup power. 

As a result, we have lost critical refrigeration of the materials on site that could now explode and cause a subsequent intense fire.

The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it.

We have evacuated our personnel  for their own safety.

The federal, state and local authorities were contacted a few days ago, and we are working very closely with them to manage this matter.

They have ordered the surrounding community to be evacuated, too.

For now, the situation isn’t too dire, but over the next few days the storm is going pass, and temperatures are going to rise.

If power isn’t restored soon then we could see an entire community wiped off the map.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of time for everyone to be evacuated from the area, but there’s a chance that by the end of this week they won’t have any homes to return to.

Article posted with permission from SHTFPlan

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