15 September 2008

Ike finally out of the picture...

For the past two weeks, Ike has been a headline.  But finally, early morning Saturday (local), it made its final landfall as a 95kt hurricane, with a monster storm surge.  And although it was deadly and destructive, in the US as well as other countries, the worst-case scenario was narrowly avoided.  The center of the eye passed directly over downtown Galveston and Galveston Bay, and slightly to the east of downtown Houston.  This placed the largest surge and strongest winds just 10-15 miles east of there.  Amazing to think what those 10-15 miles did to "save" Galveston and Houston... the surge was much less than anticipated, though still substantial.  Despite the destruction that occurred there, anyone would agree they got off very lucky: it could have been MUCH worse.  A mere 10 miles further south, and the death toll would be in the thousands instead of the dozens, and the financial hit would have been the largest in US history.

Flash flooding and downed power lines are an enormous problem from Texas to Canada in Ike's wake.  Nearly 4 million people are without power, and could be for a long time.  Flooding in the midwest was responsible for several of Ike's fatalities.  The following map shows estimated precipitation in the past week, and you can clearly see the swath from Houston to St Louis to Detroit.
(you may need to copy and paste the URL if it's too long)

If anyone has personal accounts from the storm, please feel free to share them, and if you wish, I can share them with the list.

The basin is fairly inactive now, giving Haiti, Cuba, and the US a much-deserved break.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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