Hurricane Ike vs. Texas Coast, Round 1

By: jeffs713 , 1:34 AM GMT on September 11, 2008

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This won't be pretty, but it will work.

First off, my "creds". I have been following the tropics since I was young, and always enjoyed watching storms spin up, and also the raw beauty of a major hurricane from space. But, I also don't want one anywhere near people, as they seem to leave only death and destruction in their wake. I am fairly familiar with most of the major topics/theories/ideas about hurricanes, and try my best to keep up and learn more. I am by no means a professional met, but I try to present reasonable, level-headed advice, and leave forecasting to the pros. Also, I work in the maritime industry (containerized shipping), so how the weather is near a port is very important to me, to say the least.

Currently:
Ike is a category 2 storm, and is widely expected to intensify into a major hurricane. Based on his current level or organization (high), water temps (toasty), and upper air flow (happy for a hurricane, bad for everyone else), there really isn't much to keep Ike from reaching major status.

As for his track, most of the major models have narrowed to a stretch between Corpus Christi and Galveston, with the center in the Port Lavaca / Palacios area.
Weather Underground Model page
Florida State University Tropical Cyclone model page

Do I need to evac?
Generally, if you can drive 10 minutes and be within walking distance of a beach, and you are between High Island and S. Padre Island, you should be either packing, or gone.

If you live in the Houston Metro area, and are south of a line consisting of (going East to West) I-10, Beltway 8 around clockwise to SH 288, you need to listen to your local authorities and if they say evacuate, you go. Its not worth your life. Storm surge will be nasty.

If you live North or West of that line, stay home, and be mindful of the hurricane prep guidelines below.

Prep Links:
City of Houston Office of Emergency Manangement
Galveston County Office of Emergency Management
Hurricane Evacuation Maps
Houston Area Storm Surge Map
NHC suggested hurricane supply kit

Advice:
- If you aren't told to evac, don't jam up the roads for everyone who does need to evac. PLEASE.
- Pack important documents (passports, insurance paperwork, legal documents, etc.) into a secure, watertight container. I personally use a water/fireproof safe, (cost me $40 at Target), but double-bagged Ziploc freezer bags will work too. KEEP THEM WITH YOU.
- Don't forget the pets! Take them with you if possible, and ensure they have plenty of food/water/litter, and remember, if you are freaking out, they will do. Let them calm you down.
- Board up your house if you are close to the coast. If you are not, DO NOT USE TAPE. (it doesn't work) My suggestion is to use outdoor trash bags (the black ones), cut one side so they will spread out over a longer distance, and cover the INSIDE of your windows with them, especially the larger ones. It won't stop the windows from breaking, but it stands a good shot at preventing some debris from getting in, and will also keep water from getting in as badly. Also.. they are handy for cleanup after.
- Make sure someone outside the impact zone has contact information for you, and contact them as soon as you are able after the storm.

Most importantly...

DON'T PANIC.

What will happen to me because of Ike?
With his current track still being up in the air, for argument's sake, I am going to base all of my estimates on a landfall around the Port Lavaca / Victoria area.

A good amount of rain (4-8 inches) will be expected for everywhere in the Houston area.

Katy / Far West Houston: Winds at the high end of TS force, 60-70 mph. Gusts likely over hurricane force. Moderate roof damage, some fence damage, biggest danger is localized flooding and debris.

Galleria: Winds of 55-65 mph, gusts around hurricane force. Damage roughly the same as the Katy area, but with more debris issues.

Sugarland: Winds at the high end of TS force, possible sustained Cat 1 winds (depending on how strong Ike is at landfall). More roof damage, some trees down, major debris issues.

Richmond / Rosenberg: Winds at hurricane force, gusts to 90 mph. Roof damage will be somewhat common, trees will be down, major debris issues.

Willowbrook / Tomball: Winds at 55-65 mph, gusts to hurricane force. Roughly the same damage level as the Galleria area.

Spring / The Woodlands: Winds 50-60 mph, gusts to 70-75. Slightly less roof damage than Willowbrook / Tomball area, but much more tree damage. (most trees are pine, so they will bend, but plenty of gum/oak trees)

Kingwood / Humble: Winds 45-55 mph, gusts to 65-70. Slight roof damage, some fence/tree damage.

Downtown: Winds 55-65 mph gusts to 75-80, some roof damage, major debris issues, especially downtown proper. Winds between buildings will be fierce downtown.

Medical Center / Reliant Center: Winds and damage roughly the same as the Galleria, but much more of a flooding issue.

Pearland: Winds around hurricane force, possibly Cat 2 if Ike makes it to Cat 4. Gusts around 100. Hunker down, its going to be nasty, if you don't evac.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

~Jeff

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15. jeffs713
6:33 PM GMT on September 11, 2008
I will be posting a full update tonight, after I get off from work. I had to check some things, and also get some expert advice on a couple of points.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5881
14. tristanh72
3:47 PM GMT on September 11, 2008
Main thing I'm concerned about is construction of the house vs. length of time we get sustained hurricane force winds.
Member Since: July 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 86
13. knightrid
5:32 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
I live in N. Houston so I'm starting to become pretty concerned about the rapid changes in the forecast we're seeing. The pressure has dropped a lot and now we're looking at Freeport as a potential site of land fall. My mom is disabled and her handicapped equipped van can't be driven due to an accident. I may be getting a U-Haul to take her up towards Austin to stay with a family friend now. A lot will be decided tomorrow.
12. jeffs713
5:20 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
When I do the update tomorrow, I will be putting out a full update, with estimated wind speeds. (and I have a new link I found that I will spread around that will help with that)
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5881
11. arrakis
4:50 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
Thanks for the info. We live in Conroe right behind the dam. Rita beat the tar out of the dam with her sustained north wind. We have some Pines near our house to the south and if forecasts are right any TS strength winds will come in from the south as you say they "should" take it well we had one large one drop because of root rot from the rains about 18 months ago so hopefully the other pines that are located in slightly different areas in our yard didn't have their roots weakened. so our two dogs, the wife and I as well as our two 5KW Generators(and lots of gasoline) should keep us going. It should make for an interesting Friday Night Saturday Morning.
10. cookerman
4:30 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
jeffs713,
Appreciate all your info. Live in Kingwood. My parents rode out Alicia in Kingwood in '83. Without power approximately 3 weeks. Hopefully, things have improved electronically in the last 25 years. If Ike hits south of Freeport, Any estimations on wind speed, rain in this neck of woods? Thanks.
9. jeffs713
3:57 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
Quoting tristanh72:
Do you plan on revising this as the track shifts further north? Thanks!

Definitely. I will likely be making a new blog post tomorrow, once the upper air data from the G4 flight is put into the system.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5881
8. tristanh72
3:54 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
Do you plan on revising this as the track shifts further north? Thanks!
Member Since: July 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 86
7. jeffs713
2:55 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
For trees: Pine trees ride out 'canes VERY well. They are flexible. Gum trees, too. Oak trees and other deciduous trees... not so much. Biggest issue I foresee up here is tree damage on houses, and debris from the trees.

Knowing Montgomery County, I expect the roads to be cleared quickly. The power situation... uh.. thats harder. Utility companies tend to restore power from the biggest lines to the smallest first. For The Woodlands, that is generally good, as most of the local distribution lines are underground. The issue is basically twofold: First, the major line are likely going to be down. Who knows where they fall as a priority considering the size of Ike. Secondly... Entergy had problems with the long-distance carrier lines downed due to Rita, and that caused brownouts for this area. It won't be as bad, since Ike is hitting to the West this time, but it won't be good.

If I had to guess... 3 days.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5881
6. WoodlandsLady
2:21 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
Quoting jimmiek:


Thanks. So far everyone's pretty calm about it - the university hasn't announced any potential effects.


Hi, as a long time "lurker", I am shy about jumping in..However, I have a ton of outrageous circumstances that require me to be vigilant..I live in The Woodlands as well, way in the back in Sterling Ridge..

What do you believe the potential wind. tree, and local services situation to be for us. I rode out Alicia in Houston, but I was much younger, and of course swore never again! LOL

I would appreciate any advice you have..typically, althought this storm is definately atypical, how long do the powers that be take to restore power?

Thank you very much!
5. jeffs713
2:19 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
Quoting woodlandsmom:
Thank you so much for your information! It really helps me get an idea of what to expect since we don't live right on the coast (The Woodlands). I will be checking back for updates if the track changes... Thanks again!


My pleasure. A lot of the focus has been on larger areas, but not much has been made of the inland impact. I hope this blog helps. Also, please note these are my personal estimates, not official.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5881
4. woodlandsmom
2:04 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
Thank you so much for your information! It really helps me get an idea of what to expect since we don't live right on the coast (The Woodlands). I will be checking back for updates if the track changes... Thanks again!
3. jimmiek
1:59 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
Quoting jeffs713:
For Aggieland, I would personally expect about the same as Spring / The Woodlands. You are even further inland, but will be closer to the projected inland track.


Thanks. So far everyone's pretty calm about it - the university hasn't announced any potential effects.
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 53 Comments: 1016
2. jeffs713
1:55 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
For Aggieland, I would personally expect about the same as Spring / The Woodlands. You are even further inland, but will be closer to the projected inland track.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5881
1. jimmiek
1:42 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
OK. What about Aggieland (Bryan/College Station)?
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 53 Comments: 1016

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About jeffs713

I live near Tomball, Texas (30 miles NW of Houston), and will write about whatever comes to mind. You've been warned.

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