Harvey impacts to be felt in Bay Area

- Hurricane Harvey's impact could be a lot broader than Texas. The Houston Ship Channel is one of the largest shipping lanes in the world, with exports like crude oil and even plastic going out every day.

A shutdown could lead to a spike in gas prices and many consumer goods.

Much of the southeastern portion of the United States is very dependent on refineries that ship gas out of Texas through the Gulf Coast.

Some refineries shut down operations ahead of the storm, meaning production has stopped. A major hurricane has the potential to halt business for two weeks or more.

"The wind interrupts their power supply. You have flooding that interrupts operations, so that means there's going to be no gasoline being produced," said W.D. Williams of AAA Auto Club.

Nearly a third of the nation's refineries are along the Texas Coast.

Some drivers in Tampa were already bracing for an expected price hike at the pump on Friday.

"We've seen it before, and I think we could see it again. Hopefully, we won't" said Tampa resident Linda Fries.

While some analysts say an extended shutdown of refineries could raise gas prices by several dollars, AAA is currently predicting prices going up by an estimated 10 to 30 cents per gallon.

Commercial airplanes could also see a rise in gas prices, meaning ultimately, travelers could end up paying the difference when you buy a ticket.

"A storm that lingers as this one is expected to do, over the western Gulf, could have an impact on shipping," explained Williams.

The Houston area is home to more than 100 chemical plants. The businesses ship products like fertilizer and plastic used to make car parts, toys, and cellphone parts.

The materials are shipped out of the Houston Ship Channel. Meteorologists are closing watching the route for storm surge.

With so much at stake, leaders in Texas are not taking the storm lightly. A major disaster declaration has been issued.

"We can already tell at this stage that this is going to be a major disaster," said Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

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