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Articles by Jessie Blaeser

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In the early hours of August 22, 2020, Hurricane Laura was still just a tropical depression off the coast of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean.

But effects from the monstrous storm, which would ultimately take at least 81 lives, were already being felt on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

As rain poured down on the Sweeny refinery in Old Ocean, Texas, that afternoon, two processing units failed, releasing nearly 1,400 pounds of sulfur dioxide, which can cause trouble breathing, and other chemicals.

Over the next few days, Laura siphoned up moisture from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and transformed into a Category 1 hurricane.

In Texas, chemical plants began shutting down, hurriedly burning off unprocessed chemicals and releasing vast amounts of pollution in anticipation of the storm making landfall. ... Read more

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