Hurricane Preparedness: Real-Time Storm and Energy Infrastructure Maps

By Vernon Trollinger, July 23, 2013, Hurricane Prep, News, Small Biz

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 3.36.09 PMEven though Tropical Storm Chantal eventually devolved into a tropical wave that brought lots of rain and wind to Hispaniola, Cuba, and South Florida, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t more storms on the way during the 2013 Hurricane Season.

No matter the name of the hurricane or tropical storm, the event could distress national energy supply by disrupting energy production on off-shore oil platforms, natural gas storage wells, pipelines and processing plants, fuel refineries, and port fuel terminals. These disruptions usually lead to higher fuel prices and contribute to the systemic insecurity of our energy infrastructure.

If you’re a small business owner, it might be helpful to know what energy plants might be impacted by tropical storms and hurricanes. Interruptions in the energy infrastructure can cause delay in the supply as well as increase your costs for manufacturing and shipping or scuttle an investment.

As a consumer, it would be helpful to know whether an oncoming hurricane might be able to affect the energy supply, leaving you facing long lines for expensive gasoline. And with natural gas increasingly being used for generating electricity, storms that cause damage to the energy infrastructure could leave cities in the dark for longer than before.

Now, you can have the information for free.

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 4.29.18 PMThe US Energy Information Agency (EIA) recently created an interactive map that shows the location of important energy infrastructure in the United States and overlays this information with the latest data from the National Hurricane Center. With this map, you can see whether an approaching tropical storm or hurricane might temporarily shut off the energy supply from oil drilling rigs in the Gulf or refining plants on the Atlantic coast.

You can check the current operational status of the massive Perryville natural gas hub in Louisiana to see if a storm will affect natural gas supplies for generating electricity in Texas. Likewise, you can see whether a storm hitting five regional petroleum importation and refining plants near the Philadelphia Airport (see graphic) might contribute to a gas shortage in the northeast corridor. Plus by tweaking the base map settings to “satellite”, you can get a real sense of how energy infrastructure effects the local environment.

The page also has links to historical reports from past storms like Hurricane Sandy, Katrina, or Rita, among others. These report detail just how these serious storms impacted both regional and national energy supply.

In short, it’s pretty dang cool.

The best way to prepare for hurricanes and other stormy weather is to stay informed. Bounce Energy likes to keep its business and residential consumers informed at the Hurricane Prep Center so people can anticipate future energy prices and learn how to keep their energy costs low.

For more helpful articles on energy supply, energy efficiency, going green, saving money, and electricity deregulation head over to browse the Bounce Energy Article Vault and learn how you can positively take charge of your energy costs.

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