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Hurricane Laura: Air Quality Data

Hurricane Laura made landfall around 1:00 a.m. on the morning of Aug. 27, 2020, near the Texas state line in Cameron, Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane. TCEQ monitoring data results are included by location and date. The initial response to Hurricane Laura concluded on Sept. 16, 2020, and data on this webpage will no longer be updated.

Important information Monitor Station Updates

TCEQ initiated handheld monitoring surveys in the impacted areas of East Texas on August 28, 2020. MultiRAEs, QRAEs, AreaRAEs, MiniRAEs, UltraRAEs, VRAEs, and Toxic Vapor Analyzers with various sensors are among the instruments that will be used for survey activities. These instruments provide instantaneous readings for various compounds that may include the lower explosive limit (LEL), volatile organic compounds (VOC), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), benzene, 1,3 butadiene, hydrogen cyanide (HCN), chlorine gas (Cl2), and oxygen. All readings are in parts per million (ppm) unless otherwise indicated.

Sample results from TCEQ’s handheld monitoring equipment are listed below, including observations of odor. Some normal levels, also known as background levels, of VOCs may be noted to be below 3 ppm. Data is updated as information becomes available.

Important information TCEQ Handheld Air Monitoring Data (as of Sept. 16, 2020, TCEQ is no longer posting data on this page because operations have returned to normal)

Important information TCEQ Handheld Air Monitoring Data

TCEQ and other monitoring entities maintain a network of ambient air quality monitors in Beaumont and Houston. In preparation for Hurricane Laura, much of the stationary air monitoring equipment in these areas was temporarily removed. As these monitors are re-established and begin collecting data, the TCEQ is providing daily air quality updates on this webpage for those monitors that collect near real-time data. Please note that these preliminary data have not been verified by the TCEQ and may change. The data are not official until validated by technical staff.

Houston (as of Sept. 10, 2020, TCEQ is no longer posting data for this area on this page because operations in the Houston area have returned to normal)

Important information Graphs of hourly concentrations of benzene, 1,3-butadiene, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter 2.5 µm (PM2.5):

Beaumont (as of Sept. 16, 2020, TCEQ is no longer posting data for this area on this page because operations in the Beaumont area have returned to normal)

Important information Graphs of hourly concentrations of benzene, 1,3-butadiene, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter 2.5 µm:

Daily Air Quality Reports for Houston and Beaumont

TCEQ deployed mobile monitoring assets to the Beaumont and Port Arthur area at approximately 4:00 pm on August 27, 2020, once it was declared safe to access the areas impacted by Hurricane Laura. TCEQ began conducting monitoring on Friday, August 28, 2020. The monitoring van will collect instantaneous measurements of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), sulfur dioxide (SO2), benzene, toluene, styrene, and 1,3-butadiene, at part per billion (ppb) levels, while conducting in-transit surveys of areas of interest, as well as stationary sampling as appropriate.

A summary of preliminary sample results from the TCEQ’s monitoring van are listed below. Monitoring efforts continue and additional results will be updated as available. Instantaneous sample results are labeled as "survey", and results from prolonged sampling are labeled "stationary", with the time of measurement provided. Please note that these preliminary data have not been verified by the TCEQ and may change. The data are not official until validated by technical staff.

Important information TCEQ Air Monitoring Van Data (as of Sept. 16, 2020, TCEQ is no longer posting data on this page because operations have returned to normal)

Important information TCEQ Air Monitoring Van Data

Out of an abundance of caution, mobile monitoring instantaneous results were compared to TCEQ short-term Air Monitoring Comparison Values (AMCVs) or to other short-term regulatory standards. The AMCVs used were (in parts per billion, ppb): benzene (180 ppb), 1,3-butadiene (1700 ppb), styrene (5100 ppb), and toluene (4000 ppb). The comparison value used for SO2 was 75 ppb, and for H2S was 80 ppb. Measured chemical concentrations obtained from mobile monitoring that are above the short-term AMCV/regulatory values may be considered by TCEQ staff as potential criteria for triggering the need for further investigation (e.g., the characterization of longer-term air concentrations, investigation of source(s), etc.) and do not represent levels that are immediately dangerous to health or life.