Hurricane Ike is hours away from landfall on the upper Texas coast, and is already generating huge storm surges in Texas and Lousiana. Although still of Category 2 strength, Ike remains larger and more powerful than Category 5 Katrina or Category 5 Rita. As I discussed in yesterday’s blog entry, a good measure of the storm surge potential is Integrated Kinetic Energy (IKE). Ike’s Integrated Kinetic Energy has fallen from 149 Terajoules this morning to 124 at 3:30 pm EDT this afternoon. However, this is still larger than the total energy Katrina had at landfall, and Ike’s storm surge potential rates a 5.1 on a scale of 1 to 6.
…According to the NOAA tide gauges, storm tides are running 6-8 feet above normal along the central Louisiana coast this afternoon. The web site is reporting that a 9 foot storm surge affected the Industial Canal in New Orleans. Extensive flooding of low lying towns outside the New Orleans levee system is occurring. Surge overtopped a St. Mary Parish levee near the town of Gordy, and a six-foot-wide breach was reported in a non-federal parish levee near the towns of Caernarvon, Scarsdale, White Ditch and Braithwaite.
The fact that Ike’s storm surge has reached such high levels 200-300 miles north of the storm is a very bad omen for the upper Texas and western Louisiana coasts. The latest forecast surge values from NOAA:
Shoreline of Galveston Bay… 15 to 22 feet
Bolivar Peninsula… 17 to 20 feet
Galveston Island… … 14 to 17 feet
Gulf-facing coastline from Sargent to San Luis Pass… 8 to 14 feet
I’ve given the mistaken impression that the Galveston sea wall will save the city from inundation. That is not the case. The wall merely protects the city from a frontal assault by the storm surge and the 20 foot waves likely to be on top of the surge. Ike will flood the city of Galveston.

Our hearts are with Texas.

4 Responses to “Crap”

  1. Mr. Bingley says:

    ugh and double ugh.

  2. The_Real_JeffS says:

    I’ve been reading the forecasts and situation reports at work all week. This could be a bad ‘un.

  3. Retread says:

    There has been alot of talk about Galveston’s seawall and the possibility that the storm surge will overtop it but keep in mind it only extends so far along the southern front of the island. Beyond it there is no protection along most of the island, and lots of houses have only dunes between them and the Gulf.
    Because I have friends in Galveston I’ve visited regularly and fear many of the places I’ve known will be gone this morning. It’s beyond my understanding why anyone would ignore a mandatory evacuation.

  4. That is an incomprehensible decision on a barrier island. They’re already saying that there were 300 calls for rescue right up into the teeth of the storm. Amazing how these dumb asses don’t think twice about risking the lives of the guys who have to come haul them out because of sheer stupidity.

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