Huricane IKE



Hurricane conditions were expected to reach the Texas coast Friday, the National Hurricane Center said. A hurricane warning is in effect from Morgan City, La. to Baffin Bay, Texas.

A tropical storm warning is in effect in Texas from Port Mansfield to Baffin Bay. A tropical storm warning also in effect from Morgan City, La. to the Mississippi/Alabama border and includes the city of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.

The devastation by Ike could be on a level not seen since Hurricane Alicia tore a path of destruction through the cities in 1983.

Residents living on the coast beyond a seawall are sure to face certain death if they fail to evacuate, Patrick Blood, a National Weather Service meteorologist, told the Houston Chronicle.

Computer models indicate Houston would have a direct hit from Ike, forecasters say. Landfall is forecast late Friday or early on Saturday between Freeport and Galveston, which puts Houston and surrounding Harris County on the dangerous east side of the storm.

Hurricane Ike has caused mandatory evacuations in Galveston Island, Bolivar Peninsula and Harris County, TX as the storm gets closer to land.

On Thursday, Galveston Island Mayor Lyda Thomas has ordered everyone off of the Texas island, forcing its 58,000 residents to leave.

Also on Thursday, Harris County, the county in which Houston is located, called for mandatory evacuations in several zip codes. Several other counties and school districts in southeast Texas have cancelled schools and ordered mandatory evacuations.

According to Ike's projected path, the storm will hit between Corpus Christi and Houston, but it is not certain in what direction it will eventually hit once it gets on land. Galveston is 50 miles southwest of Houston.

Along the projected path lies one of the country's largest concentrations of oil refineries, the Johnson Space Center, the Galveston Island resorts and Houston's downtown skyscrapers. More than four million people live in Houston and its suburbs.

On Friday morning, Bolivar Peninsula called for a mandatory evacuation by 9am, according to the Beaumont Enterprise. Mandatory evacuations are in effect for West Galveston Island, Jamaica Beach, Omega Bay, San Leon, Bacliff, Tiki Island and Freddiesville. 50 people were airlifted from Bolivar Peninsula.

The National Weather Service has said that the storm could cause floods of 15 to 22 feet above sea level, enough to cover many houses on the island. Hundreds of people are tracking the storm via an online web camera in Galveston. The webcam is broadcasted on Galveston.com.

The surge from Hurricane Ike already caused severe flooding along Galveston Bay and Houston Ship Channel despite being 10-12 hours away from land.

As of noon Friday, Hurricane Ike is 230 miles southeast of Galveston. Hurricane Ike was more than 500 miles across and was rated Category 2, with 105 mile per hour winds at its center.

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