HOUSTON -

On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike slammed into the southeast Texas coast right across the Bolivar Peninsula causing more than $24 billion in damage and killing dozens of people.

What lessons have been learned? Is this region ready when another big storm hits?

Dr. Philip Bedient is the Co-Director of the SSPEED Center at Rice University. He says the answer is no. SSPEED stands for Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters.

Dr. Bedient says one of the reasons the region is not ready is because of the potential for horrific damage to the Houston Ship Channel. Dr. Bedient proposes what he calls the Centennial Gate to put in place to stop or slow down potentially dangerous surges.

Dr. Bedient is joined by KPRC Hurricane Expert Bill Read in discussing the merits and challenges in getting such a gate approved and built. They talk about the realities of this current hurricane season and the reasons no one should let their guards down.

On September 24-25, there is two-day conference at Rice about these topics and more. Click here for more information. http://sspeed.rice.edu

Also joining Khambrel this week is Jennifer Lorenz, the Executive Director of the Bayou Land Conservancy. Her group led the way in raising $4 million to preserve a pristine 50-acre parcel of Deer Park Prairie, keeping it out of the hands of developers. What does this mean for current and future conservation efforts in southeast Texas?

Former Houston Texan Chester Pitts rounds out this week’s program with the inside scoop to how the Texans are preparing for their home opener against the Tennessee Titans. An original Houston Texan, Pitts, now a member of the KPRC sports team, has a unique insight into the emotions of the home opener and the outlook for the Texans on this home opener.

Great conversation and information every week on “Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall.” Watch it Sundays at 10 a.m., right after “Meet the Press with David Gregory.”

More Information:

• Philip Bedient, Ph.D, Co-Director SSPEED Center at Rice University, 713-348-4977

• Bill Read, KPRC Hurricane Expert, 713-222-2222

• Jennifer Lorenz, Executive Director, Bayou Land Conservancy, 281-576-1634

• Chester Pitts, Former Houston Texan/KPRC Sports Team, 713-222-2222