Hurricane Ike will pack a wallop regardless, and could become a very serious storm before landfall occurs in the predawn hours of Saturday. There is some question as to whether the storm will be a Category 3 or 4 hurricane when it hits but, regardless, it's going to get real nasty along the mid- and upper Texas coast. The storm will produce major damage throughout much of eastern Texas this weekend, and a small section of the coast could be completely devastated.
Story by AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist John Kocet.
I am not trying to be overly dramatic here - just trying to get the message across that In My Opinion,
everyone in the evacuation areas of Galveston and Brazoria Counties should be evacuating.
This hurricane has been very unpredictable in its path. All week the projected track continued to shift south and west first towards Corpus Christi and then further towards Brownsville. The idea that Ike could make landfall in northern Mexico was a real possibility. Yesterday the storm track changed direction and started to shift towards the north and east. Last night I noticed that Galveston was right in the bulk of the cone of uncertainty. This morning it was clear that Ike was coming ashore just west of Galveston; the worst possible track position for Galveston/Houston.
As sudden as this course change has occurred, it seems to me that we may have missed the window in ensuring that the everyone who should evacuate actually is able to. If you are in an evacuation zone - get out ASAP.
Tropical Storm force winds will be coming ashore by mid day tomorrow (Friday) and the roads should be empty by then. So far the freeways are flowing smoothly but I would expect traffic to build up rapidly tonight and tomorrow morning.Live Houston Traffic Map from Houston TranStar
I recommend checking the live map at this link before heading out. It is the most accurate and easy to read traffic map I have ever used and is a good way to plan your trip before heading out. Right now (3:30 CDT Thursday) outbound lanes of the North Freeway (IH-45N) and the Northwest Freeway (US 290) are backing up with the start of afternoon rush hour traffic mixed with some people leaving. Be prepared that the traffic can and will likely get worse over the next 24 hours.