With the question marks pretty much gone as to where Ike is going, the only things left are timing and strength. My trusted sources are making a very strong case for Ike to be “Carla #2”. In case no one remembers 1961 well enough to recall Carla, here are a few details:
Formed—September 3, 1961
Dissipated—September 16, 1961
Highest Winds—175 mph
Storm Surge—22 feet, going 10 miles inland
Damage—325 million (1961 dollars)
2.34 billion (2008 dollars)
Carla was one of the top seven most powerful hurricanes to hit the United States, and the most powerful to hit Texas. Just before landfall, it weakened, but Carla was still a very strong and unusually large category 4 hurricane at its landfall between Port O’Conner and Port Lavaca, Texas, on September 11th. At the time, Carla became the largest hurricane on record in the Atlantic basin. Along the entire Texas coast, hurricane warnings were put into effect, causing a large evacuation of low-lying areas.
In an eerie twist of fate, Ike is heading toward pretty much the same place and could very well reach the same intensity. I cannot stress highly enough the need for anyone near the projected landfall of Ike to take all needed precautions and head inland. I, and many other independent forecasters, believe this storm will end up at least a category 4 upon landfall. This storm MUST be prepared for NOW and I am sure Texas is doing just that.
Anywhere between Corpus Christi and Galveston needs to prepare for the impact of a major hurricane. Places inland need to prepare for a tropical storm and for tornadoes. Current guidance puts Ike over the Dallas area still strong enough to be considered a tropical storm! How many times do the folks in Dallas and Fort Worth encounter sustained winds of tropical storm strength?
Once Ike gets into Texas its moisture will flow northeast and all points between Texas and New England are in for a ton of rain. Just what we here in St. Louis need, more heavy rain, for this is already the wettest year on record. Ike will still be making news not only a week from now, but quite possibly a year from now.
Carla had a storm surge of 22 feet associated with it. It doesn’t take a meteorologist to figure out that could be catastrophic IF Ike goes a little east of its projected path and Galveston found itself on the northeast side of a category 4 storm. Carla did a world of damage to Galveston in 1961, and Ike holds the same potential in 2008.
Since this storm is still getting its act together, there is room for error as far as track and intensity. Thus, all interests along the Texas coast need to act now to deal with a hurricane very few would have ever personally experienced in their lifetime. This could end up being a very bad situation for not only Texas, but for many parts of this country as the moisture streams northeast.