Hell And High Water

ProPublica and The Texas Tribune

Hurricane Katrina humbled the nation when it devastated New Orleans, but a massive hurricane hitting Houston—the fourth largest city in the United States and home to a vast petrochemical complex—could be even more catastrophic, especially as climate change exposes the city to higher and stronger seas. Hell And High Water, a multimedia collaboration between ProPublica and The Texas Tribune featuring the reporting talents of Neena Satija, Kiah Collier, Al Shaw, Jeff Larson, and Ryan Murphy, weaves cutting-edge climate science, digital mapping tools, engineering simulations, on-the-ground reporting, and compelling photography to tell the story of Houston’s current and future vulnerability. Climate science—data-driven and reliant on sophisticated models—can be inaccessible and intimidating, its results difficult to communicate to broad audiences and its findings buried in technical reports and academic journals. Hell And High Water embeds meteorological, flooding, and storm surge models and simulations developed at leading research institutions and federal agencies into an accessible and interactive digital format, giving concrete context to residents seeking to protect their homes and to advocates working to safeguard the region from flooding and storm damage. The report has bolstered bipartisan efforts to speed up the construction of a floodgate and barrier system designed to protect the Texas coast. For creatively using the digital environment, and for transforming innovative science into urgent storytelling that brings a looming threat into sharp focus, Hell and High Water earns a Peabody Award.


Editors-in-Chief: Stephen Engelberg, Emily Ramshaw. Editors: Scott Klein, Robin Fields, Ayan Mittra. Reporters: Neena Satija, Kiah Collier, Al Shaw, Jeff Larson, Ryan Murphy.