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Hurricane Ike

Galveston, Texas - Sept. 12/13 2008

NHC_Sept_11

  • When Hurricane Ike made landfall on the Texas coastline, it was such a huge storm that it had more energy associated with it than Hurricane Katrina did, 3 years previous. I intercepted Ike on Galveston Island and it proved to be a difficult storm to chase.
  • In The Eye Of Hurricane Ike

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    A huge wave crashes along the sea wall as police patrol the streets of Galveston.

    The memorial to the over 6000 victims of the hurricane that struck in 1900. It survived Ike.

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    A news reporter about to get a serious soaking. I hope the camera was rolling!

    Debris along Sea wall drive, tossed up by the huge waves.
  • Because of Ike's immense size, it pushed a very large storm surge along with it. This water began affecting the coastline more than 24 hours before the storm hit. On the morning of the 12th, the huge waves that were battering the sea wall were also piling up water in lower lying areas of the city. Flooding became a major problem and the downtown area became impassible.
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    Flooding began many hours before the arrival of the hurricane as storm surge water was pushed out ahead of the storm by the strong winds.

    A miniature golf course becomes inundated by water. Many parts of Galveston were cut off completely by water.

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    A mermaid at a mini golf course. I'm not sure if she's please with the water or not... I assume not.

    Swim area?.. Okay, YOU go first!

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    Another crashing wave on the sea wall.

    Sea water totally covering the road along the coastline.

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    A raging fire at the marina is allowed to burn because the firefighters can't get to it due to the massive flooding.

    The acrid smoke billows across town and over the hospital.

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    Buildings becoming totally submerged.

    A police officer discovers 3 people that are stranded by high water. About 20,000 residents decided not to evacuate.
  • The eye of the storm came ashore in the middle of the night. Conditions went from screaming, howling wind to flat, dead calm. Not a leaf was moving, the air warmed up, crickets were chirping and the mosquitoes came out in swarms. The waves continued to bash the shore but, the air was as calm as in your living room. The eye lasted just under an hour and a half and then the backside of the storm hit. This time the winds were now coming out of the southwest and were stronger than the first half of the storm. We measured a highest wind speed of 105 mph which was in line with the forecasts.
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    As the storm hit overnight, the parking garage where I was started to flood out.

    Many police cars were stored there, but some of them didn't fare so well.

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    The hotel next door. We spent a lot of time walking through this parking lot during the storm.

    A hole in the side of the hotel where we were based.

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    This hotel used to have a ramp that connected it to the sea wall drive. Not anymore.

    The remains of several restaurants are now nothing but a pile of splinters.

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    A totally gutted building along the water.

    More piles of debris that the storm surge brought up onto the road.

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    This is all that is left of the Hooters restaurant.

    More debris blocking the road.
  • Getting out of Galveston ended up being our biggest problem. While traversing a flooded area, my car ended up in just a bit too deep and I managed to get sea water in my intake. It sputtered and stalled out... 8 feet from dry land! Tim drove his Jeep around and pushed me out of the water and despite our best efforts, we were unable to get my truck started. Luckily, I carry a tow rope so we linked the two vehicles together and Tim towed me over 20 miles, out of Galveston and to the National Weather Service radar station. We borrowed a spark plug wrench from one of the employees and did some field surgery on the truck. After removing the plugs, it became clear that the cylinders were full of salt water. Not good. In a stroke of genius, Mark pulled out a section of washer fluid hose and we literally sucked the water out of the cylinders. It took some time, and a battery boost, but it came back to life with a geyser of water out the tail pipe. I have never been so happy to hear the sound of a car starting.
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    Tim Millar of the Cyclone Research Group, making hit way out of the city through deep water.

    Looking back, this is the stretch of flooded road that disabled my vehicle. I only had 8 more feet to go before dry land!

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    Sea water + engine = bad. Here's Tim getting ready to tow me out of there.

    Piles of boats along the I-45 bridge that connects Galveston with the mainland.

    Ike_29

    The southbound lanes were completely cut off due to the pileup of dozens of boats.