Yikes! Ike!

September 10, 2008

So Hurricane Ike is coming toward the Texas coast.  He should arrive Friday night or early Saturday morning.  We’re already seeing the effects.  Gas was up twelve cents a gallon yesterday from the day before.  I’ve already complained about how gas prices go up so sharply before a hurricane, so doing that again would be whining.  Instead, let’s just say it has been noted.

The projected three-day storm track would bring Ike ashore near Corpus Christi or Rockport.  The Chronicle’s Eric Borger has a good post in his science blog today about how much to “trust” the three-day forecast.  The answer, when you look back at Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, is not that much.  I recall that when we evacuated from Galveston three years ago, the track was headed smack-dab at the Island.  Rita actually made landfall miles away in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, although the Island did get winds in excess of sixty miles per hour.  The take-away lesson is to rely on the “cone of undertainty” more than the specific track.

Today Brazoria County called a mandatory evacuation of the areas closest to the shore, namely Freeport and Surfside Beach.  The schools and community college there have canceled classes until Monday.  The county is also evacuating “special needs” persons throughout the entire area, and has a voluntary evacuation for the entire county.  Galveston County, likewise, has voluntary evacuations in place for many places, and adjacent Chambers County — on the east side of the Bay — is also calling for mandatory evacuations in some areas.

For us, we’re fifty miles inland a half-mile from Houston, living in a new house built to withstand 130 mile per hour winds.  As with Edouard, we don’t plan to go anywhere just yet.  However, I’ll be spending the day Friday battening down the hatches, bringing in the patio furniture and plants, and basically getting things ready.

Our biggest threats are onshore flooding, if we get a foot of rain, and power outages.  We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Update: Frank Billingsley on Channel 2 just said that Ike may be “the Carla of our lifetime.”  Carla, in 1961, came ashore as a Cat 4 near Port O’Connor after attaining Cat 5 strength in the Gulf.  Among other dubious accomplishments, Carla damaged the old Galveston County Courthouse so much that it had to be demolished to make way for a fugly replacement.

Update 2: Frank the Weatherman is back at 6:30 p.m.  He just showed Rita’s 2005 track at this point and compared it with Ike’s: Almost identical.


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