Officials have warned that Hurricane Ike, with its expected imminent landfall along the Galveston-Houston, Texas coast, may present the feared worse-case-scenario, which includes the ominous prediction of "certain death" for those who ignore mandatory evacuation.
Residents living in single-family homes in some parts of coastal Texas face "certain death" if they do not heed orders to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Ike's arrival, the National Weather Service said Thursday night.There are concerns about people ignoring the mandatory evacuation order due to "hurricane fatigue." This 700 mile-wide storm may not be the event upon which to take that chance.
The unusually strong wording came in a weather advisory regarding storm surge along the shoreline of Galveston Bay, which could see maximum water levels of 15 to 22 feet, the agency said.
"All neighborhoods ... and possibly entire coastal communities ... will be inundated during the period of peak storm tide," the advisory said. "Persons not heeding evacuation orders in single-family one- or two-story homes will face certain death."
Here are some facts:
- Ike is receiving the same surge warnings as Katrina. This was the surge that wiped out parts of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In Ike's case, the likeliest surge landfall is in Texas.
- Tidal surges could exceed 20 feet; greater than Katrina.
- The cone is narrowing toward Galveston and Houston, but it is a very large storm.
- The entire storm is building up and blowing water toward Galveston Bay - that is the reason for the dire warnings about a high surge.
- Because of the wide area for the storm surge, mandatory evacuation zones extend to a wide area of the Gulf Coast with Galveston Bay being the center of the surge's focus.
- Everywhere there is a mandatory warning, it is estimated that the surge could be up and or exceed 20 feet.
- Hurricane Ike has already proven to be a storm surge generator in the Caribbean, where tidal surges pounded into shore above five story buildings.
- The Barrier Islands are too low to stop this surge.
Weather service warnings do not often include the words "Certain death." This will be a flooding storm. If it turns out to cause less damage than predicted, that means property not expected to survive might.
If it turns out to be as predicted, anyone in its path that cannot get above 22 feet of fast moving water will be washed away.
Those in its path can be the judge of whether that's a risk worth taking. The authorities have made their bet on mandatory evacuations. The climate scientists tracking this monster agree.
If you're in its path, get out.