Sprawling Ike could bring 20-foot storm surge
Hurricane Ike is still spinning with top sustained winds of "only" 100 mph - Cat. 2. But it is a sprawling storm, with hurricane winds more than 100 miles from its center. And those winds are pushing a storm surge ahead of them that could rise to 20 feet as the storm nears the Texas coast late Friday. The surge map above shows a 90 percent probability (dark red) of a 5-foot surge (or higher) around Galveston.
The National Hurricane Center's latest advisory says Ike's big surge should be expected to the east of wherever the storm's center goes ashore. The hurricane winds extend 115 miles from the center, while tropical storm winds reach 275 miles out. That's one very large storm, and it puts many more people and more property in serious danger.
Forecast models differ on how much, if at all, Ike will strengthen before landfall. Some say Cat. 2 when he goes ashore. Some say Cat. 4. Here's the discussion.