Saturday, 27 September 2008

Hurricane Ike - Storm Pummels Texas Coast

01 September 13, 2008 - A worker inspects damage in front of the JPMorgan Chase Tower in downtown Houston, Texas, after powerful Hurricane Ike slammed into the Gulf Coast, shredding buildings, flooding streets, and knocking out power for millions of people. With winds reaching 110 miles (177 kilometers) an hour, Ike came ashore over Galveston, Texas, as a strong Category 2 storm just after 3 a.m. EST. The massive storm, nearly as big as Texas itself, moved over Houston before dawn, blowing out windows and scattering documents from skyscrapers such as the 75-story Chase Tower, the state's tallest building.

According to the Associated Press, Ike is the first hurricane since Alicia in 1983 to land a direct hit on Houston. —Photograph by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The town of Clear Lake Shores in Galveston County, Texas, sits deep in floodwaters on September 13, 2008, after Hurricane Ike battered the coast early Saturday morning. Ike inundated the barrier island of Galveston with a 13.5-foot (4-meter) storm surge - a wall of water pushed ashore by the storm's winds.

Officials were relieved that the actual surge was much lower than the catastrophic 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.6 meters) of water initially predicted. But heavily flooded streets are still hampering efforts to rescue people who chose to ride out the storm despite official warnings of "certain death" if they stayed. —Photograph by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Debris scattered by Hurricane Ike covers State Highway 146 in Seabrook, Texas, on September 13, 2008. Because of Ike's unusually large size, hurricane - force winds and rain continued to pound a large swath of Texas and Louisiana well after landfall, forcing rescue crews to wait for the storm to pass to begin operations.

As of 2 p.m. EST, many roads were still impassable, and it remained unclear how many people might have died or been injured in Ike's wake. —Photograph by Frank Franklin II/AP

A building sits damaged in Galveston, Texas, on September 13, 2008, after Hurricane Ike made landfall over the island community in the early hours on Saturday.

Despite strong warnings from government officials, more than ten thousand people chose to stay in coastal areas as Ike approached. "We'll probably do the largest search-and-rescue operation that's ever been conducted in the state of Texas," Andrew Barlow, spokesperson for Texas Governor Rick Perry, told the Associated Press. —Photograph by Matt Slocum/AP

Black smoke pours from a burning beach house in Galveston, Texas, on September 12, 2008, a day before Hurricane Ike came ashore over the barrier island as a Category 2 storm. Even hours before making official landfall, Ike's strong winds were pushing surges of water over the Galveston seawall, and flooded streets kept emergency crews from reaching the blaze, local paper The Daily News reported.

Ike moved north and dropped to a Category 1 storm late Saturday afternoon.

The hurricane is expected to eventually turn toward Arkansas and weaken to a tropical storm. —Photograph by David J. Phillip/AP

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