At this late stage of the game, there is little that can be done but wait and pray. I do pray that the decision made to not evacuate huge sections of Houston was a wise one. This is somewhat like placing a bet on the highest stakes game ever played. That which is in the “ante” are hundreds of thousands of people’s lives. Whether I agree with the decision or anyone else makes no difference. All anyone can do is pray for the best in light of an unprecedented situation.
Hurricane Ike has somewhat strengthened overnight and has held its course heading for landfall near the west end of Galveston Island. There is still a slight chance the hurricane may move east, but there is a greater chance it might move slightly west. It certainly appears at the moment that all the dire forecasts for Galveston could come to pass.
The “wildcard” in all this is what will happen to Houston proper. Galveston island does act as a barrier island which protects Houston to some degree. But, the barrier islands did little to protect the Mississippi coast from Katrina’s wrath. All anyone can do is pray that Ike doesn’t produce a 30 foot surge, for if it does, then Houston is in for a world of hurt.
As impressive as the surge estimates are, I am intrigued by the overtopping wave estimates. I can not think of a storm where there was discussion of 50 foot waves. I do not believe very many people stop and think about how high 50’ is. I will say one thing for sure; if an area is hit with even a 25’ surge along with 50’ waves, that area will not be there come Saturday evening.
Various media stories are flush with reports of people fed up with false alarms and the hassles of evacuations. These people are going to defy mandatory evacuation orders and take their chances riding out the storm. Depending on where they are located and where Ike ends up hitting; the images of these people will be the last anyone sees of them.
Many knowledgeable people in the Galveston/Houston area are appalled by the apathetic attitude that has been manifested by all parties toward this storm. This is no doubt due to the Rita fiasco three years ago coupled with the Gustov non-event a few weeks ago. As justifiable as people’s reluctance to act is; when all is said and done, it will result in “justifiable suicide” at best. One can defy man’s decrees and live through it. One cannot defy nature’s decrees and expect anything but what she has to give.
As this day drags on, Ike will no doubt have ups and downs and plenty of wobbles. Unless something unexpected happens, Ike will strike Texas somewhere southwest of Houston late tonight or early Saturday morning. By Sunday, Ike will be long gone and will be flooding Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. By Monday, Ike could very well be in the Atlantic Ocean. So, whatever happens will be quick.
When the winds die down and the rains cease and crews are able to get out Sunday to survey the damage caused by Ike; I think everyone in this country will be in for a shock. I think what will be seen will surpass Katrina as far as damage and possible fatalities. I think Ike will so damage the Oil and Gas business that we will see spikes that last for at least a month. I think the repercussions of Ike will still be felt months from now along with the finger pointing and name calling.
Americans lovetheir freedom and do not like someone telling them what to do. Many who cherish their freedom include riding out hurricanes as part of the “Bill of Rights”. In a way, I understand, for it is like those who choose to smoke. If they want to destroy their body, it is their choice. But, if a person makes the decision to defy orders, they should forfeit their ability to sue for damages later.
I can only pray that those who willingly decided to defy mandatory evacuation orders live to tell about it. I can only pray that those who did not issue mandatory evacuation orders do not live to regret it. I can only pray that those who will spend the next two days “hunkered down” as they followed orders to NOT evacuate do not end up in the fatality statistics.
The next thirty-six hours will tell who the winners and losers were in this highest of stakes poker game. May we all pray, that for the good of all, the losers are few and somehow the losses are minimized. Please pray for the “huddled masses” in their bunkers all around Houston.