Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike tumbles toward Houston and Galveston

Massive Hurricane Ike lumbered toward the Gulf Coast on Friday heading for a probable landfall in the Houston-Galveston area.

Ike is predicted to make landfall as a strong Category 2 or possibly a weak Category 3 hurricane. However, Ike may cause damage well beyond its hurricane force winds. The large size of the storm and its long track over the Gulf have built up a huge column of water ahead of Ike along with higher wave action.

Storm surge may reach up to 25 feet in some areas, with strong waves lapping over the top of the surge. Hurricane Katrina caused storm surge of 24 to 26 feet in Mississippi, but mostly along thinly populated areas. If Ike lands to the near west of Galveston and Houston it would strongly impact a much more heavily-populated area than Katrina in terms of storm surge, since New Orleans was west of Katrina were the surge is much lighter.

Ike's hurricane force wind field extends about 120 miles from the center compared to 125 miles for Katrina.

NOAA Projected Path for Hurricane Ike
[Image of 5-day forecast of predicted track, and coastal areas under a warning or a watch]
Click Here for a Printer Friendly Graphic

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