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Colossal Hurricane Ike lashes Texas coast

 
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Eaglesbrew

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Post subject: Colossal Hurricane Ike lashes Texas coast Reply with quote
CAG I am in Austin with some friends. I evacuated from Houston yesterday and it was a slow and painful drive! Lots of people that didnt know what to do or what they were doing. Why does this not surprise me anymore? Ike is hitting the coast hard and I hear that thousands of people stayed to 'experience' it! I can not believe how crasy people are around here! You couldnt pay me enough to stay! Laughing

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Colossal Hurricane Ike lashes Texas coast

HOUSTON - A monster-sized Hurricane Ike bore down on the Texas coast late Friday, threatening to rattle the sparkling skyscrapers of America's fourth-largest city, shut down the heart of the U.S oil industry for days and obliterate waterfront towns already flooded with waist-high water.

Though nearly 1 million people evacuated coastal communities in the days leading up to the storm, tens of thousands ignored calls to leave and decided to tough it out. But as wind-whipped floodwaters began crashing into coastal homes, many changed their minds. Galveston fire crews rescued more than 300 people who were walking through flooded streets, clutching clothes and other belongings as they tried to wade to safety.

"We were going street by street seeing people who were trying to escape the flood waters," Fire Chief Michael Varela said. "I'm assuming these were people who made the mistake of staying."

At 600 miles across, the storm was nearly as big as Texas itself, and threatened to give the state its worst pounding in a generation. It was on track to crash ashore early Saturday near Galveston, the same site that suffered the nation's worst natural disaster when a legendary storm struck without warning and killed 6,000 more than a century ago.

Officials were growing increasingly worried about the stalwarts, and many communities imposed curfews to discourage looters. Authorities in three counties alone said roughly 90,000 stayed behind, despite a warning from forecasters that many of those in one- or two-story homes on the coast faced "certain death."

At dark Friday, the Coast Guard suspended a search for a 19-year-old man who was lost in 6- to 8-foot waves off North Padre Island, about 10 miles east of Corpus Christi. Michael Moxly was with three other people on the southside of the Packery Channel Jetty when he was swept away.

In communities all along the coast, rescue crews were forced in the face of heavy wind and rain to retreat and leave the stubborn to fend for themselves. Three buildings were destroyed by fire in Galvaston because water was too high for fire trucks to navigate.

"I believe in the man up there, God," said William Steally, a 75-year-old retiree who planned to ride out the storm in Galveston without his wife or sister-in-law. "I believe he will take care of me."

A disabled 584-foot freighter with 22 men aboard was left tossing about in the waves because winds were too dangerous for aircraft. Late Friday, the Coast Guard reported the crew was still safe after weathering the brunt of the storm, and a tugboat was set to arrive noon Saturday.

Power was knocked out to hundreds of thousands of customers in Louisiana and along the Texas coast. That number that was expected to climb quickly throughout the night, according to Centerpoint Energy, the primary electricity provider for the region.

As of 11 p.m. EDT, Ike was centered about 55 miles southeast of Galveston, moving at 12 mph. It was close to a Category 3 storm with winds of 110 mph, and was expected to strengthen by the time the eye hit land. Forecasters predicted it would come ashore somewhere near Galveston early Saturday and pass almost directly over Houston.

Because of the hurricane's size, the state's shallow coastal waters and its largely unprotected coastline, forecasters said the biggest threat would be flooding and storm surge, with Ike expected to hurl a wall of water two stories high — 20 to 25 feet — at the coast.

Bachir Annane, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Research Division, said Ike's surge could be catastrophic, and like nothing the Texas coast has ever seen.

"Wind doesn't tell the whole story," Annane said. "It's the size that tells the story, and this is a giant."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said more than 5.5 million prepackaged meals were being sent to the region, along with more than 230 generators and 5.6 million liters of water. At least 3,500 FEMA officials were stationed in Texas and Louisiana.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked President Bush for a "wide-reaching emergency declaration" in all 88 counties being affected, a move designed to secure emergency funding to help defray storm costs.

Ike would be the first major hurricane to hit a U.S. metropolitan area since Katrina devastated New Orleans three years ago. For Houston, it would be the first major hurricane since Alicia in August 1983 came ashore on Galveston Island, killing 21 people and causing $2 billion in damage. Houston has since then seen a population explosion, so many of the residents now in the storm's path have never experienced the full wrath of a hurricane.

Authorities instructed most of the city's 2 million residents to just hunker down to avoid highway gridlock. Residents prepared for a sleepless night.

On the far east side of Houston, Claudia Macias was trying unsuccessfully not to think about the trees swaying outside her doors, or the wind vibrating through her windows. She had been through other storms, and other hurricanes, but this time is different because Macias is a new mother.

"I don't know who's going to sleep here tonight, maybe the baby," said Macias, 34. "I'm not sleeping."

If Ike is as bad as feared, the storm could travel up Galveston Bay and send a surge up the Houston Ship Channel and into the port of Houston. The port is the nation's second-busiest, and is an economically vital complex of docks, pipelines, depots and warehouses that receives automobiles, consumer products, industrial equipment and other cargo from around the world and ships out vast amounts of petrochemicals and agricultural products.

The oil and gas industry was also closely watching Ike because it was headed straight for the nation's biggest complex of refineries and petrochemical plants. Wholesale gasoline prices jumped to around $4.85 a gallon for fear of shortages.

The storm could also force water up the seven bayous that thread through Houston, swamping neighborhoods so flood-prone that they get inundated during ordinary rainstorms.

Though Ike's center was heading for Texas, it spawned thunderstorms, shut down schools and knocked out power throughout southern Louisiana on Friday. An estimated 1,200 people were in state shelters in Monroe and Shreveport, and another 220 in medical needs shelters.

In southeastern Louisiana near Houma, Ike breached levees, threatening thousands of homes of fishermen, oil-field workers, farmers and others.

In Galveston, a working-class town of about 57,000, waves crashed over the 11-mile seawall built a century ago, after the Great Storm of 1900 killed 6,000 residents.

While the Galveston beachfront is dotted with new condominiums and some elegant beach homes on stilts, most people live in older, one-story bungalows. The National Weather Service warned "widespread and devastating" damage was expected.

In Surfside Beach, a town of 800, the police chief asked one stubborn couple, David and Dondi Fields, to write their names and Social Security numbers on their forearms with a black marker in case something bad happened to them.

Dondi Fields, 50, wrote "I heart U" and "for my kids" on her arm. But the couple finally decided to leave. Police used an aluminum boat to reach them, and a National Guard truck carried them to safety.

___

Juan A. Lozano reported from Galveston. Associated Press writers Kelley Shannon in Austin, Eileen Sullivan in Washington, Paul Weber and Regina L. Burns in Dallas, John Porretto, Andre Coe and Pauline Arrillaga in Houston, Diana Heidgerd in Dallas, and Allen G. Breed and video journalist Rich Matthews in Surfside Beach also contributed. Brian Skoloff also contributed from West Palm Beach, Fla.

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PostFri Sep 12 21:36:30 2008
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CAG Hotshot

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Post subject: Reply with quote
Yep, you just cant figure the nutcases! Mad

I watched some idiots trying to surf the waves earlier at Galveston, when their cars were flooded out as the tidal surge came in! Razz Embarassed

Idiots! Laughing
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PostSat Sep 13 0:25:37 2008
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CAG Hotshot

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Post subject: Reply with quote
Ike is smacking East Texas and parts of Louisanna after slamming Houston and Galveston, but looks to be missing Dallas!


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PostSat Sep 13 12:48:53 2008
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Jackal

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Post subject: Reply with quote
CAG Hotshot wrote:
Yep, you just cant figure the nutcases! Mad

I watched some idiots trying to surf the waves earlier at Galveston, when their cars were flooded out as the tidal surge came in! Razz Embarassed

Idiots! Laughing


And at the end how should some civil rescue officer even feel obliged to risk his life for such kind of worthless beings?

Just can't understand a behavior like this. Bah.

Apart from this, I hope you Eaglesbrew and CAG are fine and secure now.
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PostFri Sep 19 6:51:10 2008
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CAG Hotshot

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Post subject: Reply with quote
All fine down here in Texas Jackal! Ike never did anything in North texas anway...

Houston took a bath, but Galveston took a real beating! You would think they would have been smart enough to build the seawall to its highest level ALL the way along the seafront of the city instead of just 10 miles of it!


CAG out...
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PostFri Sep 19 15:49:01 2008
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