Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Bad Morning

[Satellite image of Hurricane Ike at 1 PM CDT today Image credit: The Weather Underground]

Eastern Texas had a really bad morning today. Bloomberg elaborates:

Sept. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Ike plowed into Texas early today, driving the Gulf of Mexico's waters into Galveston Island, blowing out office-building windows and cutting power to at least 4.5 million people in the Houston area.

The storm flooded roads, shut oil refineries and prompted panicked calls from residents who didn't join the 1 million- strong exodus from its path. Winds blew pine trees sideways in Houston, the nation's fourth-biggest city, where electrical transformers sparked and residents waited out the hurricane in their homes last night under a citywide curfew.

Hurricane Ike Batters Texas, 4.5 Million Lose Power

That link is from the original article, by the way. Bloomberg seems to get the Internet more than the other wire services, and quite a few online newspapers.

In Killeen, Texs, which is a hundred miles or so inland, the Killeen Daily Herald has submitted no storm-related stories since early this morning. It's a small paper, though. The link they point to for the Killeen preparedness agency redirects to a non-existent domain. So much for preparedness.

The Austin Statesman, meanwhile, which is about 50 miles south of Killeen, is up and running, it appears. They filed this a little while ago:

Chris Lippincott of TxDOT said crews from as far away as the Panhandle are heading to the Houston area and Southeast Texas to begin debris removal and to make decisions about opening bridges and roads.

“We’re just now getting out and about,” Lippincott said about 10 a.m.

UPDATE: The agency later stressed that flash flooding is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in Texas.

“Many roadways in the affected areas are still not safe for travel due to flooding, power outages and debris,” TxDOT said. “Travel in the area affected by Hurricane Ike is strongly discouraged.

TxDOT, Texas National Guard gear for recovery actions

If you live in that part of Texas and you don't need to go anywhere today, it looks like staying at home would be a good idea.

Galveston may have been the worst hit. According to Bloomberg and the Austin Statesman, many people there did not evacuate:

About 40 percent of Galveston's 57,400 people decided to stay and ride out the storm, Steve LeBlanc, the city manager, said in a televised press conference yesterday.

Hurricane Ike Batters Texas, 4.5 Million Lose Power

Thankfully, the storm surge was lower than expected.

I wish Texas well, and hope that everyone's OK down there.

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