David J. Phillip/AP
Galveston, Texas

Flooding from Hurricane Ike Hits Galveston and Neighboring Counties

September 12, 2008 04:07 PM
by Anne Szustek
As of 1:08 p.m. CDT, Hurricane Ike was still 165 miles off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, but many Houston-area shoreline neighborhoods are already flooded.
Waves were crashing into Galveston’s 17-foot seawall as of mid-morning, sending plumes as high as 30 feet into the air. Subdivisions located toward the western end of Galveston Island saw water pour in from over the coast. And by 10 a.m., parts of the city of Galveston were under six to eight inches of water, according to the Houston Chronicle. Areas of the town nearer the coast, as the paper writes, “were becoming impassable.”

Half of the small town of Surfside Beach, located in Brazoria County, was underwater as well.

Houston NBC affiliate KPRC reported that as of 1 p.m. CDT Hurricane Ike was a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. The 350-mile diameter storm was moving west-northwest at 12 mph and is expected to make landfall near Galveston around midnight Friday. KPRC meteorologist Anthony Yanez said however, “Honestly, the storm is so large it almost doesn’t matter where it’s going to make landfall. It’s going to have a large impact on almost all of southeast Texas.”

The Houston Chronicle reports that some Galveston Island residents refuse to evacuate despite government warnings that staying in the area is tantamount to suicide. Houston Mayor Bill White said at a news conference today, “If you had a plan that you were going to wait it out in place, that may have made sense yesterday. It does not make sense now. Don't wait until noon to decide whether to evacuate.”

The National Weather Service was more blunt in its warnings to Galveston-area residents: “All neighborhoods … and possibly entire coastal communities … will be inundated during the period of peak storm tide. Persons not heeding evacuation orders in single family one- or two-story homes will face certain death.”

In an editorial entitled “Get Out Now!” the Chronicle called individuals choosing to remain in mandatory evacuation zones “reckless. … Don’t fool yourself: If you don’t leave and are hurt in the storm or need help once Ike makes landful [sic], there will be no rescue personnel to help you—no ambulance, no hospital, no police.”

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