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September 11, 2008

Stay in Galveston, face "certain death"

Residents of Galveston who stay behind to "ride it out" in one- or two-story structures as Hurricane Ike approaches in the next 24 hours were warned by the National Weather Service tonight they will face "certain death" as a storm surge up to 22 feet high rolls across the island.

I have never seen a warning like this one, issued tonight for Galveston:

"LIFE THREATENING INUNDATION LIKELY!

"ALL NEIGHBORHOODS...AND POSSIBLY ENTIRE COASTAL COMMUNITIES...
WILL BE INUNDATED DURING THE PERIOD OF PEAK STORM TIDE. PERSONS
NOT HEEDING EVACUATION ORDERS IN SINGLE FAMILY ONE OR TWO STORY
HOMES WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH.
MANY RESIDENCES OF AVERAGE
CONSTRUCTION DIRECTLY ON THE COAST WILL BE DESTROYED. WIDESPREAD
AND DEVASTATING PERSONAL PROPERTY DAMAGE IS LIKELY ELSEWHERE.
VEHICLES LEFT BEHIND WILL LIKELY BE SWEPT AWAY. NUMEROUS ROADS
WILL BE SWAMPED...SOME MAY BE WASHED AWAY BY THE WATER. ENTIRE
FLOOD PRONE COASTAL COMMUNITIES WILL BE CUTOFF. WATER LEVELS MAY
EXCEED 9 FEET FOR MORE THAN A MILE INLAND.
COASTAL RESIDENTS IN
MULTI-STORY FACILITIES RISK BEING CUTOFF. CONDITIONS WILL BE
WORSENED BY BATTERING WAVES. SUCH WAVES WILL EXACERBATE PROPERTY
DAMAGE...WITH MASSIVE DESTRUCTION OF HOMES...INCLUDING THOSE OF
BLOCK CONSTRUCTION
. DAMAGE FROM BEACH EROSION COULD TAKE YEARS TO
REPAIR."

Take a few minutes to read the warnings issued for Galveston tonight. It's terrifying.

Here's a sample:

"STRUCTURAL DAMAGE WILL INCLUDE THE MAJORITY OF MOBILE HOMES BEING
SEVERELY DAMAGED. THOSE THAT SURVIVE WILL BE UNINHABITABLE UNTIL
REPAIRED. HOUSES OF POOR TO AVERAGE CONSTRUCTION WILL HAVE MAJOR
DAMAGE...INCLUDING PARTIAL WALL COLLAPSE AND ROOFS BEING LIFTED
OFF. MANY WILL BE UNINHABITABLE. WELL CONSTRUCTED HOUSES WILL
INCUR MINOR DAMAGE TO SHINGLES...SIDING...GUTTERS...AS WELL AS
BLOWN OUT WINDOWS. UP TO ONE QUARTER OF GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL.

"PARTIAL ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED AT INDUSTRIAL PARKS...ESPECIALLY
TO THOSE BUILDINGS WITH LIGHT WEIGHT STEEL AND ALUMINUM
COVERINGS. OLDER LOW RISING APARTMENT ROOFS MAY ALSO BE TORN
OFF...AS WELL AS RECEIVING SIDING AND SHINGLE DAMAGE. UP TO ONE
QUARTER OF ALL GLASS IN HIGH RISE OFFICE BUILDINGS WILL BE BLOWN
OUT. AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL CAUSE DAMAGE...INJURY...AND POSSIBLE
FATALITIES.

"NATURAL DAMAGE WILL INCLUDE ALL TREES WITH ROTTING BASES BECOMING
UPROOTED OR SNAPPED. NEARLY ALL LARGE BRANCHES WILL SNAP. BETWEEN
ONE QUARTER AND ONE HALF OF HEALTHY SMALL TO MEDIUM SIZED TREES
WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED...MOST COMMON WHERE THE GROUND IS
SATURATED. UP TO THREE QUARTERS OF NEWLY PLANTED GROUND CROPS
WILL BE DAMAGED."

And here's a bit of the storm advisory from the National Hurricane Center that deals with storm surge:

 "COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF UP TO 20 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE
LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE
EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER OF IKE MAKES
LANDFALL...EXTENDING A GREATER THAN USUAL DISTANCE FROM THE CENTER
DUE TO THE LARGE SIZE OF THE CYCLONE.  SURGE FLOODING OF UP
TO 25 FEET COULD OCCUR AT THE HEADS OF BAYS.  COASTAL STORM SURGE
FLOODING OF 6 TO 8 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE
AND DANGEROUS WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED WITHIN THE TROPICAL STORM
WARNING AREA ALONG THE NORTHERN GULF COAST"

Given the developments with Ike during the day today, I yield the point on this storm. If all this plays out as forecast, Ike will indeed be a "monster." 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:44 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Hurricanes
        

Comments

There are pictures, somewhere, of Interstate 45 approximately 5 miles inland from Galveston Island following Hurricane Alicia in 1983. It is under 10 feet of water. That was before all the new development, and that was not a storm that approached in the same direction as this one may. If it goes east everyone will have been psyched out. If it comes from the south or perhaps even if it goes directly up the bay it will be 1900 again. The seawall is only 17 feet high.

Yeah, here it is:
http://hydrology.rice.edu/Storms_2006/photos/2006/I45_1979.jpg

That photo is actually from Tropical Storm Claudette, not Hurricane Alicia. And I think it is a little further inland than 5 miles. Claudette did not have hurricane type storm surge, but it was a heck of a rainmaker. An area just upstream of this photo recorded over 40 inches of rainfall in less than 24 hours - which is the national record. But you really cannot compare this photo to what may happen this evening. Its apples and oranges.

"Certain Death"? Holy cow. I never heard a weather warning quite that to the point.

FR: Me neither. They later revised that to "possible" death, and now seem to have dropped the item altogether.

comment to :
National Weather Service Says Ike Could Bring “Certain Death” to Those Who Don’t Evacuate Coastal Areas, Barrier Islands

One live saved by this comment will justify !
Thank you for saving lifes !!!

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff
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