Hurricane Ike officially hit the Texas coast in the Galveston area at 1:10 am EDT as a category 2 hurricane with winds up to 110 mph. The storm surge has caused severe flooding and much damage has been left in Ike’s wake. Citizens, businesses and officials are left reeling and in the massive clean up and repair effort that they face in the coming days. Thankfully, the forecasted catastrophic 20 to 25 foot wall of water never materialized and the storm surge only topped out at only 13.5 feet. However, the damage was done.
The strength of the storm and the damage it has caused prevented firefighters from reaching multiple fires burning in Galveston and Houston.
Insurance experts say the value of insured property in the Houston area is nearly $1 trillion. FEMA estimates the damage could top $12 billion.
VIDEO: “I’ve never seen water so high”.
Johnny Hanson: Chronicle
Waves crashing into the seawall reach over the memorial to the hurricane of 1900 as Hurricane Ike began to hit Galveston.
Floyd LeBlanc of CenterPoint Energy Inc. said 1.8 million of the power company’s customers — or more than 4 million people — in metro Houston are without electricity as high winds and heavy rains downed power lines. LeBlanc said 2 million customers represent about 4.5 million people.
Brian Devall, right, 16, and his friend Andrew David, 17, paddle a kayak through flooded streets to check on Devall’s house after Hurricane Ike hit the Texas coast, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008, in Galveston, Texas.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
See the slide show of pictures from Hurricane Ike.
Slide show of pictures from Yahoo News
More pics from Ike from The Houston Chronicle
Two men wade through flooded streets as Hurricane Ike begins to make landfall in Galveston, Texas September 12, 2008. Massive Hurricane Ike bore down on the Texas coast on Friday, driving a wall of water into seaside communities and threatening catastrophic damage.
Metro Houston faced a wicked blow from Ike this morning. Aside from the coastal flooding on the southeast side of the city along the western bay, Houston will deal with sustained tropical storm-force winds with numerous gusts to hurricane force. Once the center passes I-10, the metro area will see a slow decrease in winds but the heavy rain will continue into the afternoon.
Skyscrapers endured higher winds this morning than compared to the street level because of their elevation. Windows have been blown out in several of these very tall buildings throughout downtown Houston.
Obviously, this is a huge storm that is causing a lot of damage not only in Texas, but also in parts of Louisiana. The storm has yet to pass, and I know there are people concerned about their lives. Some people didn’t evacuate when asked, and I’ve been briefed on the rescue teams there in the area. They’re prepared to move as soon as weather conditions permit. Obviously, people on the ground there are sensitive to helping people, and are fully prepared to do so.
… In the meantime, the Department of Energy, the Federal Trade Commission, and I know state authorities will be monitoring gasoline prices to make sure consumers are not being gouged, make sure consumers are being treated fairly.
Gouging? Gas prices near $6.00 a gallon in parts of Florida. How is it that gas prices can escalate but if a bottle of water does, its a Federal crime?