Texas begins evacuations; Ike's track shifts to the north
Weather Channel Tropical Update 7:50 pm
Tonight I finally had a chance to turn on the Weather Channel and I see that Hurricane Ike's track has shifted to the north towards Houston. Additionally expectations are that Ike will increase to at least a mid Cat 3 and could even intensify to a Cat 4 storm before making landfall.
I am especially concerned by a comment by The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore in which he expressed concern that we may be past the time where a mandatory evacuation could be ordered. Comments now are focused on hunkering down to ride out this storm.
If Ike does indeed grow to be a level 4 storm, the effects could be felt along the entire coast from New Orleans to Mexico from the storm surge and as far inland as Dallas if past storms such as Carla are an indication.
For everyone in low lying areas, I recommend strongly that you follow the guidance of area officials and evacuate as soon as your area is told to do so. If you are not in an area that is asked to evacuate, officials are askign that you stay and shelter in place. The worst thing to happen would be if everyone tried to leave at once and blocked the freeways as we had with the evacuation ahead of Hurricane Rita in 2005.
Galveston County: More mandatory evacuations ordered: Low-lying West End under mandatory evac order; rest of Galveston voluntary evacuation (KHOU)
Brazoria County: Mandatory evacuation called for most of the county (KHOU)
Chambers County: Evacuations ordered for Galveston Bay, Trinity Bay residents (KHOU)
Most of Texas Coast under Hurricane Watch (Houston Chronicle)
— The National Hurricane Center has placed much of the Texas Gulf Coast under a hurricane watch as Hurricane Ike churns toward the state.
The watch extends from Cameron, La., to Port Mansfield, almost 45 miles north of
Brownsville. Forecasters said hurricane conditions were possible within the watch area by Friday.
As of 4 p.m. CDT, the hurricane was centered about 720 miles east of Brownsville and was moving northwestward at near 8 mph. Maximum sustained winds were near 100 mph with higher gusts and hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 90 miles from the center. Tropical storm strength winds of 39 to 75 mph extend outward from the center for up to 205 miles.