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September 13, 2008

Is Ike A Katrina In The Making?

Hurricane Ike is ripping it’s way through Texas. Galveston, a site that has known terrible hurricane damage in the past is once again being trampled. Those that were not willing to leave Houston when they were instructed have been told to stay put now. It is too late to leave the area.

Ike is currently a category 2 storm with winds of 105. Forecaster expect the hurricane to hit landfall by the end of Friday or early Saturday. By that time residents in the area will probably be facing a Category 3 hurricane. A curfew will be in place from 8 pm Friday until dawn Monday morning. In the meantime, residents will have to remain in their homes. This could of course be detrimental.

The Galveston Island seawall has been decimated. Friday brought winds up to 275 miles per hour along the Texas coastline. Hurricane Ike is 900 miles wide is can reach the length of the Texas coastline. Unfortunately, Galveston, which sent out evacuation warnings, is still a city that is somewhat full. Of the 57,523 residents, about 40 percent chose to stay put. Now they are in serious dangerous. City personnel will be shutting down at 9 pm and will not respond to calls until after the storm as passed. That means that there could be many deaths in Galveston.

150 people went to a shelter as a last resort. Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas advise people that were still on the island to get inside and stay there until the storm passed. Some parts of Galveston are covered in feet of water. A fire broke out in a Galveston yacht basin that was covered by eight feet of water. Firefighters were not to get to the fire and were concerned about it spreading and starting new fires.

Only about 200,000 of the 4 million residents that live in low lying Houston areas fled the area. That means that there are millions of people still in the area. Even though warnings went out, people stayed in their homes. Already about 120 people have been rescued from rising seas along the southeast Texas coastline.

So what types of warnings were given? The weather service did their part to get people out of the area. They predicted “certain death” for people that were in single family one or two level dwellings. Floodwaters could reach 20 miles inland. This should have been enough to get people out of the area but it was not. There are still millions in the path of danger.

The terrible thing about this is not that millions of people be in danger. The terrible part is that millions of people were willing to put themselves in danger. Not to mention, someone is going to have to try and save those people that chose to put themselves in danger. It just does not make sense to stay put when such a dire warning has gone out. What is there to prove in this case? Why stay put and wait and see if the predictions are wrong or not?

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