As you may know, the National Weather Service has said that certain death awaits those who try to ride out Ike in one to two story houses in Galveston. The storm surge is expected to be 20 feet and there’s talk of an additional 5 feet. There are also many colonies of wild animals, but the pelicans flew north yesterday.
About 70% of Galveston has evacuated, which leaves way too many people there. It is getting harder and harder to get out as the waters rise. I’ll be watching it on TV for as long as I can, but it is very sad. We spend most weekends there, and it is very hard to see a place we know so well be largely destroyed.
Houston itself is about 50 miles inland from Galveston. Many of those 50 miles are dead flat, so the storm surge threatens the east of the city. But most Houstonians will experience only rain, winds and, if they occur, tornadoes. The rain will cause a lot of flooding, but nothing like the storm surge, which may well put Galveston completely under water.
This is out in many venues:
As a gigantic Hurricane Ike steamed through the Gulf of Mexico toward the Texas coast, officials in America’s fourth-largest city made a bold decision: Instead of fleeing, residents here would stare down the storm.
Homeowners should board up windows, clear the decks of furniture and stock up on drinking water and non-perishable food. But whatever they do, officials warned, residents should not flock to the roadways en masse, creating the same kind of gridlock that cost lives – and a little political capital – when Hurricane Rita threatened Houston in 2005.
“It will be, in candor, something that people will be scared of,” Houston Mayor Bill White warned. “A number of people in this community have not experienced the magnitude of these winds.”
Some very kind people offered to shelter us at LSU, but traveling is difficult now and we are not in the storm surge. They’ve switched to offering to come and help do repairs when it is over. No one around us is leaving, so this is not a idiosyncratic decision. At least a million people have to leave their homes, and it could get quite awful if we 4 million who are relatively safer try to get on the roads.
You can keep up with developments from 3-4 (for as long as they last) Houston stations here.
Many, many thanks for all the good wishes, on this blog and elsewhere.