From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
The effects of Hurricane Ike in Texas were crippling and long-lasting. Ike's effects included deaths, widespread damage, and impacts to the price and availability of oil and gas. Hurricane Ike also had a long-term impact on the U.S. economy. Making landfall over Galveston, at 2:10 a.m. CDT on 13 September 2008, "giant" Hurricane Ike caused extensive damage in Texas, with sustained winds of 110 mph (175 km/h), a 22 ft (6.8 m) storm surge, and widespread coastal flooding.
More than 140,000 people in the Texas Gulf Coast area in Ike's path had failed to evacuate, partly due to fears of multi-hour traffic jams as during Hurricane Rita, but over 940 were rescued from rising waters, and nearly 2,000 rescued afterward.
As of December 27, 2008, 37 people are known to have lost their lives in Texas due to Ike while hundreds are still missing.
The storm had come ashore hours before daybreak with 110-mph (175 km/h) winds and towering waves, pushing boats ashore, smashing many houses, flooding thousands of homes, knocking out windows in Houston's skyscrapers, uprooting trees, and cutting electric power to more than millions of customers (estimates range from 2.8 million to 4.5 million  customers) for weeks or months.
Afterward, an estimated 100,000 homes had been flooded in Texas, and numerous boats washed ashore. Galveston was declared uninhabitable, and Houston imposed a week-long nighttime curfew due to limited electric power.
Galveston, nearby waterfront towns, and low-lying suburbs of Houston had been partially evacuated.
On September 8, Texas State Governor Rick Perry declared 88 Texas state counties a disaster area in preparation for Hurricane Ike, expected to hit the Texas coast as early as Saturday morning, which included placing 7,500 Texas Military Forces troops on standby. The Texas County of Brazoria called for voluntary evacuation and Matagorda County called for mandatory evacuation as did the County of Brazoria for zip code 77541 and the city of Lake Jackson. Galveston, parts of southern Houston and areas south of the city and near the Texas coast were under a mandatory evacuation order starting at noon September 11.
State rural water associations activated mutual aid networks to prepare for the landfall of Hurricane Hanna and Hurricane Ike while still providing assistance to areas impacted by Hurricane Gustav. The Texas Rural Water Association held meetings with state agencies on Tuesday, September 9, to plan for landfall along the Texas gulf coast.
On September 11, forecasting models began to show Ike making landfall just south of Galveston. City Manager Steve LeBlanc late Wednesday issued a mandatory evacuation order for the low lying west end of Galveston Island. Later, the mandatory evacuation order was extended to the entire island of Galveston, as well as low-lying areas around Houston, Texas.
Also on September 11, at 8:19 p.m. (CDT), the National Weather Service in Houston/Galveston, TX issued a strongly worded bulletin, regarding storm surge along the shoreline of Galveston Bay. The bulletin advised residents living in single-family homes in some parts of coastal Texas may face "certain death" if they do not heed orders to evacuate. Reports said as many as 40 percent of Galveston's citizens may have not paid attention to the warnings. It was feared to be much the same in Port Arthur.
The threat to low-lying areas between Morgan City, Louisiana, and Baffin Bay, Texas, east of the projected eye of Hurricane Ike may experience the greatest damage from storm surges of up to 25 feet. Waves at sea are expected to be higher, up to 70 feet according to computer simulations.
The prices of crude oil and gas increased in the expectation of damage to some of the numerous oil refineries along the South Texas coast, or at least delays in production from the oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Landfall had been predicted near Freeport, Texas, by the National Hurricane Center, as of Wednesday, 10 September 2008. However, the actual landfall was further east, over the east end of Galveston Island (near Texas City, TX), with the eye centered over Galveston Bay. Because some winds blew from the north at Galveston, water was pushed back out into the Gulf, and the actual storm surge there was muted to 19 ft (5.8 m), rather than the original prediction of over 25 ft (7.6 m) as with a west-end landfall, which would have pushed more water into Galveston Bay, being a channel bay.
As of 13 September 2008, the highest storm surge had been noted at Sabine Pass at 22 ft (6.5 m), the highest surge ever recorded at that station, and Ike also brought on the record for greatest storm surge ever seen with any Category 2 hurricane.  However, Bolivar Peninsula, at the entrance to Galveston Bay, was nearer to the eastern side of the eye.
The morning high tide (on 2008-09-13), adding 2.3 ft (0.7 m), occurred at 4:14am CDT at the Galveston Bay entrance.  The total eastern storm tide was then nearly 16 ft (4.9 m) by landfall at 2:10am, with higher waves on top.
On the night of September 12, 2008, the eye of Hurricane Ike approached the Texas coast near Galveston Bay, making landfall at 2:10 a.m. CDT over the east end of Galveston Island  (near Texas City). People in low-lying areas who had not heeded evacuation orders, in single-family one- or two-story homes, had been warned by the weather service that they "faced certain death" in the overnight storm surge.
In regional Texas towns, electrical power began failing before 8 p.m. CDT, leaving more than 3 million people without power. In addition, grocery store shelves in the Houston area were left empty.
Rainfall estimates indicated that 2-day rainfall totals from mid-day Friday through mid-day Saturday exceeded 20 inches (50 cm) in parts of both northern Harris County and southern Montgomery County, with a multi-county area receiving at least 10 inches (25 cm) of rainfall.
Bolivar Peninsula, just east across the water from the landfall site on Galveston Island, had been submerged under the storm tide. Most, if not all of the communities previously located on the Bolivar Peninsula, which together with Galveston Island separates Galveston Bay from the Gulf of Mexico, were utterly devastated. Based on an extensive aerial survey conducted on the afternoons of Saturday, September 13 and Sunday, September 14, very little remains west of the community of High Island. The area of total or near-total destruction includes Caplen, Port Bolivar, and the area surrounding Gregory Park. Most, if not all of the structures that had been situated along the length of Highway 87 west of High Point, as well as Highway 108 on the western edge of Bolivar, were destroyed.
Crystal Beach, a populous community located roughly at the midpoint of the peninsula, was submerged and destroyed; waves and wind pounded houses, and even some houses elevated on 14-ft (4.3–m) stilts rolled into the waters. The tiny beachfront community of Gilchrist, which sat astride the north-facing Rollover Bay on Bolivar, was completely swept away, save for only a few homes. One of these homes, the only one in its neighbourhood to remain intact (although it was rendered uninhabitable), attracted widespread media interest after images of it began to appear in newspapers and on television. At least six bodies were found in an extensive search.
Two flood water sensors in Chambers County, Texas survived Ike's storm surge, while those on eastern Bolivar Peninsula were left inoperable during the hurricane. Along the Eastern shores of Galveston Bay surge heights were measured at 16.9 feet (5.15 m) and a measurement along SH126 measured 17.0 feet (5.18 m). Massive amounts of surge carried debris, largely from Bolivar Peninsula and southern Chambers County were left along the northern coast of Rollover bay Chambers county.
In Galveston, by 4 p.m. CDT (2100 UTC) on September 12, the rising storm surge began overtopping the 17-ft (5.2 m) Galveston Seawall, which faces the Gulf of Mexico; waves had been crashing along the seawall earlier, from 9 a.m. CDT. Although Seawall Boulevard is elevated above the shoreline, many areas of town slope down behind the seawall to the lower elevation of Galveston Island.
The historic Balinese Room, a former mafia-run nightclub that had extended 600 feet into the Gulf of Mexico and had withstood many serious storms, was swept away as Ike's eye crossed over the eastern half of Galveston Island. The elevated structure, which had hosted performers ranging from Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and George Burns to Groucho Marx and Sammy Davis, Jr., had recently been renovated and returned to profitability after years of neglect and disrepair, and was listed on the National Registry of Historically Significant Places. The rock band ZZ Top had a song named after the popular destination, "Balinese".
None of the many wooden piers that gave Galveston much of its unique character survived the landfall of Hurricane Ike. In addition to the Balinese Room, Murdoch's, Hooters and the 61st Street Pier were all completely destroyed. Murdoch's Pier was rebuilt and reopened in October 2009, while Hooters Galveston (housed in the former Ocean Grill building) was not rebuilt; the site remains vacant as of 2011. Because of the recession, Texas Wings (the subsidiary of Hooters of America based out of Dallas, TX) executives have no future plans to reestablish a Hooters franchise in Galveston. The 61st Street Pier was rebuilt and reopened in 2010. Seawall Boulevard, which runs the entire length of the seawall several meters above the popular beaches adjoining the Gulf, was littered with the debris of these and other structures.
The landmark Flagship Hotel, which sits on deep concrete pylons, was seriously damaged, but no one was injured, and an early survey indicates the structure will be salvageable. Some of the hotel's siding was peeled off by the storm (this occurred during Hurricane Alicia in 1983), venting at least one top-floor guest suite to the open air, and the elevated ramp permitting vehicles to access the hotel's lower level from Seawall Boulevard fell into the Gulf.
The seemingly protected back side of the island also suffered heavy damage to tourist areas. The Lone Star Flight Museum suffered massive damage as the storm surge washed over the airport and though all the aircraft hangars (not just the museums) with about 8 feet of water. All the airplanes, except those that flew out before the storm, where damaged from moderate to severe, but the worst was the complete destruction of the "Aviation Hall of Fame" with numerous personal items of aviations greatest pioneers. As of August 2011, plans are underway to relocate the Lone Star Flight Museum to Ellington Field even though a 20 year lease extension from Scholes Field was signed. The recently completed Schlitterbahn Water Park is still closed as of November as they continue to work on repairs Conversely, Moody Gardens was built with hurricane storms in mind with strong pyramid shaped structures very high above sea level, so it was able to withstand the worst of the storm and return to operation quickly.
The Galveston Railroad Museum suffered damage throughout its museum and exhibit grounds. Several railcars and locomotives are damaged by the hurricane's winds and flooding# 2 historical EMD F7 locomotives are scrapped after severely affected . The museum's model railroad layout was also destroyed.
Even though there were advance evacuation plans, Mary Jo Naschke, spokesperson for the city of Galveston, estimated that (as of Friday morning) a quarter of the city's residents disregarded calls for them to evacuate, despite predictions that most of Galveston Island would suffer heavy flooding storm tide. By 6 p.m. Friday night, estimates varied as to how many of the 58,000 residents remained, but the figures of remaining residents were in the thousands.
Some people survived by punching holes in attics and carried sick relatives away from the flood. On the 91st Street Pier, formerly a two-story structure resembling a house that extended some 400 feet (120 m) into the Gulf, three persons opted to ride the storm out, despite a National Weather Service warning direly predicting that they faced "certain death" from what was expected to be up to a 24-foot storm surge. Calling local emergency operators three hours ahead of Ike's landfall, they requested evacuation by Coast Guard personnel, as the entire length of the pier and the structure's first story had by that time fallen into the Gulf. They were informed that no one could rescue them at that time, due to the unacceptable risks their prospective rescuers would be subjected to. Weathering the storm huddled inside what remained of the pier's second floor, they were lifted to safety by a rescue helicopter late the following morning.
An early survey of Galveston Island, performed late Saturday, September 13 and Sunday, September 14, 2008, indicated that the entirety of the Island west of 11 Mile Road was entirely devastated, and that few structures on Galveston's western one-third had survived. This area of near-total destruction includes the communities of Bayou Vista and Jamaica Beach, as well as the Galveston Country Club and the Galveston Island State Park. The affected area previously included some 1,000 structures, including single-family dwellings, commercial enterprises, and hotels and resorts. It is unknown how many residents may have ignored repeated calls to evacuate, or what became of those who decided to remain in Galveston's vulnerable West End.
Electric power failed in Galveston around 7:45 p.m. CDT. Widespread flooding included downtown Galveston: such as 6-ft (2 m) deep inside the Galveston County Courthouse, and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston was flooded. Five people have died on Galveston Island - two of them drowned and three of them were due to natural causes.
Transfer of survivors: In transferring survivors out of town, Galveston officials planned to use Ball High School, which was being used as a "shelter of last resort" for evacuees, to be a center for FEMA. More than 200 residents had been staying at the school shelter, and hundreds more were eating meals there. Buses were brought in on Sunday to take residents from that shelter, and others who wanted to leave the island, to a shelter in San Antonio.
On the day of landfall, police were stopping travelers at La Marque, 4 miles (6 km) north of Galveston, and making them exit the highway. Interstate 45 at La Marque had been closed because boats and parts of wrecked piers were strewn throughout floodwaters blocking the road.
From a historical perspective, on September 8, 1900, the Great Galveston Hurricane came ashore on a path similar to Ike, bringing with it a storm surge that inundated most of Galveston Island: as a result, much of the city was destroyed and at least 6,000 people were killed in a few hours; afterward, the level of the island was raised an average of 4 ft (1.3 m), adding a high seawall (17-ft, 5.2 m) to block incoming waves.
The annual Lone Star Motorcycle Rally, usually held in late October or early November, was rescheduled to December 2008. The economic impact after Ike have affected Galveston businesses - the hardest hit was in the Strand where a few vacant building spaces sit empty. A new promoter for the annual Mardi Gras celebration, Yaga's Entertainment Inc. signed a 5 year contract with the City of Galveston where admission fees are charged on both weekends prior to Fat Tuesday, angering revelers, businessowners, and tourists despite the effects of the late-2000s recession.
In Houston, windows also broke in downtown buildings such as the 75-story JPMorgan Chase Tower, and Reliant Stadium was damaged. According to a witness interviewed by FoxNews, furniture from offices in the JPMorgan Chase building was blown out of the shattered windows and into the parking garage across the street. A fire partially burned Brennan's restaurant in downtown Houston, but workers were rescued. Many trees were uprooted, and bus stop shelters were mangled. Houston's theater district was flooded.
Although electric power was out in most of the region, the lights remained on at the Texas Medical Center, a complex of about a dozen hospitals. At Memorial Hermann Hospital, patients were coming in with a variety of problems, including people who had run out of medicine or oxygen, or others who had cuts and bruises.
Eight deaths have been blamed on Ike in Houston, all of which were indirect in cleanup incidents such as carbon monoxide poisoning from generators used or fires from light sources while power was out, or accidents involving tree cutting.
Flights in and out of Houston's two major airports (Bush Intercontinental and Hobby) were suspended on Friday September 12, 2008, with plans to resume on the following Sunday. However, as of Sunday September 14, 2008, Intercontinental remained without power, but both airports planned to re-open Monday with limited service.
Due to large number of destroyed, damaged, or dysfunctional traffic lights, most Houston roads remain clogged two weeks after Ike hit. Many highway exits are jammed and cause a gridlock on highways as well, especially during rush hours. Many gas stations were out of service for a week because of no electricity to pump the gas out of the ground, and few that functioned had long lines and only once a week gasoline deliveries. This "hit and miss" to find gasoline led to the buying out of gasoline once it was delivered. Similarly there were long lines in most of the few open grocery stores, home repair stores, and restaurants.
A Valero Energy Corp. spokesman, Bill Day, said that crews would soon get in to inspect the oil refineries in Houston and Texas City, which remained shut down on Saturday, 13 September 2008. Texas City (north of Galveston) was very near to the landfall site of Hurricane Ike. The Mainland Medical Center (off I-45) closed its doors on Saturday (13Sep08) at 4 p.m. CDT, after water service was unavailable in the area. One death has been reported in Texas City, which was caused by a lack of dialysis treatment due to the storm's aftermath.
The beloved Texas City Dike, a manmade structure extending nearly five miles into the mouth of Galveston Bay, was overtopped and seriously damaged along with all structures built upon it.[unreliable source?] The dike, known to locals as "the world's longest manmade fishing pier," had stood for seven decades and was considered Texas City's primary defense against the devastation wrought by a powerful storm surge. An aerial survey late afternoon Sunday, September 14, revealed that the eastern and northern portions of Texas City, as well as San Leon were still substantially flooded. Substantial wind damage appeared to have been sustained by the Texas City Industrial Complex that borders Galveston Bay.
A few businesses, including some gasoline stations, convenience stores and fast food restaurants, were planning to re-open as early as Monday, September 15, 2008. Beginning Sunday, September 14, the Texas Military Forces began using the city's high school football stadium as a staging and relocation area used by Black Hawk helicopters, which were used to retrieve stranded citizens from Bolivar, Galveston and other area communities. Also on September 14, the Red Cross opened a disaster relief center in Texas City.
In League City, TX, the electric power went out, and CenterPoint Energy said it could take four weeks or more to restore power after the largest outage in the company's history. Residents who evacuated were allowed to return on 16 September 2008 and advised to bring back enough food for two weeks; a dusk-until-dawn curfew was in effect. Two deaths have been reported in League City, both due to natural causes indirectly caused by Ike.
Kemah, Texas, about 35 miles (56 km) south of Houston, was without power and water, and still had 5 feet of flooding on Saturday, 13 September 2008. State Highway 146 was closed at the 2094 intersection. There was a lot of debris on the roads, completely covering some lanes.
Severe damage occurred at the Kemah Boardwalk, the site of many popular restaurants and shops, as well as a small waterfront amusement park with various rides, including a carousel, kiddie train and Ferris wheel overlooking Galveston Bay. The entire first floor of Landry's seafood restaurant was demolished and swept away, as well as those of neighboring structures. The Boardwalk had received 4 million visitors per year. In an interview on local CBS affiliate KHOU-TV, the Boardwalk manager expressed confidence that despite such unprecedented devastation to the tourist attraction, the site would be rebuilt.
In Seabrook, most homes and businesses east of State Highway 146 (close to Galveston Bay) were flooded by storm surge, which included the Miramar subdivision and "Old Seabrook". Homes along Todville Rd (which parallels Galveston Bay) were washed away, or had their entire bottom floors gutted. State Highway 146 just north of the Kemah Bridge was completely inundated, causing boats and other debris to collect on the highway after the waters subsided. The Seabrook Waterfront district sustained substantial damage. The surge caused boats to float onto or very close to Nasa Road 1.. also destroyed boat docks and businesses along Nasa Road 1 all the way to the Nassau Bay Hilton hotel.
Near Clear Lake, where winds reportedly gusted over 100 mph, many people rode out the storm at the Nassau Bay Hilton, across from the NASA/JSC complex. The roof of the Mission Control Center of NASA's Johnson Space Center was damaged by Hurricane Ike, but there were no injuries and no major flooding. Along with the roof damage, there were branches and light poles on the ground, with minor damage to buildings and vehicles. There was also damage to hangars and awnings over at NASA's Ellington Field, east of I-45. NASA has its own generators to provide electric power.
Baytown, on the upper portion of Galveson Bay, was affected by the storm surge from Hurricane Ike. Homes in the Lakewood subdivision on the western side of Baytown on the bay sustained major flood damage. Many homes were eventually demolished because they were beyond repair. The Bayland Marina on the Waterfront District near Hwy 146 sustained major damage. All boats docked there were lost. Most of the boats were found along Hwy 146 or in the nearby subdivision. Hurricane Ike also caused the temporary shutting down of the Baytown ExxonMobil refinery.
Like most of East Texas, the Beaumont and Port Arthur areas received winds at hurricane force. Ike's storm surge threatened the Port Arthur levees, and penetrated far enough inland to contaminate the water supply for Beaumont with salt water.
Hardest hit were rural areas of Jefferson County, including the unincorporated communities of LaBelle and Fannett. As of Sept 18, 4000 head of cattle were estimated dead, drowned by floods in the county, both from rain, and storm surge.
One fatality has been reported in extreme Southeast Texas related to Ike. It was as a result of a generator fire when power was out. Despite official assurances that this was the only Ike-related death in the area, rumors spread that large numbers of people died during the storm. This was fueled by the presence of refrigerated trailers outside a Beaumont funeral home. The funeral home had lost electrical service and was using the trailers to store bodies of people who died of natural causes until burials could be arranged.
Damage was widespread and severe across Orange County. Storm surge almost completely flooded Bridge City, breached the levee at the City of Orange, and travelled up the Neches River to flood Rose City.
The City of Orange received winds at hurricane force. Mayor Brown Claybar estimated about a third of the city of 19,000 people was flooded, anywhere from 6 inches (15 cm) to 6 feet (2 m). He said about 375 people, of those who stayed behind during the storm, began to emerge, some needing food, water and medical care. Many dead fish littered streets and properties.
Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte estimated that only 14 homes in the city were unaffected by the surge. 5 of which were in the Oakview addition on Louise Street. The piles of debris and waterlogged furniture placed outside homes by residents beginning to clean up led the mayor to say "The whole city looks like a flea market. During the post-storm cleanup, Bridge City residents found swimming pools had been occupied by jellyfish brought inland with the water. Three people were found dead in Orange County on September 29.
Corpus Christi, TX received winds at tropical-storm force. Near Corpus Christi, a man was reportedly swept away; he is presumed dead. The Coast Guard searched for his body after the storm has passed. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reopened 7 stores in the Corpus Christi area on Saturday, 13 September 2008.
One death was confirmed to have been Ike-related as a tree fell onto a boy in Montgomery County while being cut in preparation for the storm, and another person was killed not far away from a fallen tree during the storm. After the storm, another tree-cutting accident involving a damaged tree killed another young boy in Montgomery County, and a cleanup accident involving a truck resulted in a fourth death in the county. Another fallen tree in Huntsville resulted in a fatality after it crashed into a house. In Anahuac, one person was electrocuted in the preparations, and one person was killed by a house fire while without power in Walker County. On Goat Island, there were reports of a herd of cattle and other livestock that survived the storm, although it was unclear from where they had arrived onto the narrow sandbar.
In San Leon, the popular Topwater Grill restaurant, that stood at the tip of a promontory extending into Galveston Bay, was swept away by Ike's powerful storm surge. The eatery had featured fresh local seafood "right off the boat," with a small fleet of fishing vessels that pulled right up to its doors with each day's catch. It also offered dock space to patrons who arrived by boat or other personal water craft.
The storm brought to San Leon a large herd of parrots which have nested between a number of the power transformers and the power poles along Bayview Drive near the county park. The noise from these birds can be heard throughout the park. Several roofing companies have experienced these parrots making threatening passes at their workers while trying to make repairs on the roofs in the community.
Tiki Island, a low-lying waterfront community bordered by North Bay and West Bay along Interstate Highway 45, sustained extensive water damage, but most of the structures remained intact.
The bayfront community of Virginia Point, on the other side of the Bay from Galveston Island, was swept away.
CenterPoint Energy, the largest power company in the region, said that it had restored power to 112,000 homes and business on Saturday, plus many of Houston's skyscrapers had regained power. The progress was as follows:
However, over 1.5 million people remained without power as of Sept. 16, 2008.
Entergy Texas, whose service area includes Beaumont-Port Arthur west to cities north of Houston such as The Woodlands and Conroe, estimated that 392,600 of their 395,000 customers lost power during Ike. Although nearly all their customers lost power, the company reported restoration of electrical service to all customers who could safely receive power on September 25, twelve days after the storm. The majority of Entergy customers unable to receive power were located in High Island and on the Bolivar Peninsula.
On Saturday, September 13, 2008, the US Coast Guard sent the tugboat Rotterdam to rescue the crew of a disabled freighter, Antalina, carrying 22 people, hours after the ship had survived Hurricane Ike, without any means of escaping. Repairs to the ship's broken fuel pump will be made at sea; the tugboat will then tow the ship to Port Arthur, Texas, to be anchored for additional repairs and eventually to offload more of its cargo: petroleum coke, a petroleum byproduct.
Two oil rigs were adrift in the Gulf of Mexico, but crews had prepared to secure both rigs as soon as the water conditions settled.
BP reported that the drilling derrick (tower) on its Mad Dog platform had been toppled into the sea, adding that it was too early to predict when the platform could resume production.
Several communities accepted thousands of evacuees, or later refugees, from the impact areas, including:
There were other shelters as well.
Response teams from the Texas Rural Water Association moved from their staging area in Mauriceville, Texas the day after landfall. They distributed emergency generators to impacted systems, some as early as eight hours after the loss of water service.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Hurricane Ike in Texas|