I live near Tomball, Texas (30 miles NW of Houston), and will write about whatever comes to mind. You've been warned.
By: jeffs713 , 1:34 AM GMT on September 11, 2008
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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!
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.