Since I have written extensively on the potential dangers associated with hurricane Ike, let me also be one to say that Houston dodged a bullet which will make all the difference between a disaster of unspeakable proportions vs. what will be a very bad situation but one which is manageable. If Ike had tracked even 15 miles further west then it did, then Galveston Bay would have received the full brunt of the storm surge and Houston would have suffered the consequences.
Time will tell today just how bad the flooding is, but the issue in Houston was always more with flooding than wind damage. Just as New Orleans was spared from the worst case scenario three years ago, so Houston was spared also. As bad as the situation turns out to be (or as good) in Harris County; it could have been far worse.
Whether the same can be said for Galveston and points east is yet to be determined. As the day and days ahead unfold, the true extent of this storm will become manifest. Without question, Ike will prove to be the costliest hurricane in Texas’ history; only time will tell if it is the same in American history.
As many are already doing, I beg America to not decide too early that Ike was not as bad as promoted. It is far too early in the game to make any determinations as to the number of fatalities and amount of damage done. The bigger concern for most is the lack of electricity which may linger on for days or weeks. It takes time to get crews out and before they can, trees and debris must be removed and of course flood waters must recede.
As fortunate as the folks in Houston proper may be, I know no one who feels the same for many coastal areas. Reports from as far east as coastal Alabama indicate the damage done by the storm surge may very well be beyond the scope of comparison. Reports indicate sections of Alabama, Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana are still under 4 to 8 feet of water. Western Louisiana may very well be under 10 feet of water still at this time.
Literally God only knows what has become of the thousands of people who staked their lives on Ike not being as bad as advertised. As the waters slowly recede and search and rescue crews make their way to what is left of many coastal communities, I am afraid what they will find will not be good. In fact, we could still be looking at the greatest number of fatalities in the history of any storm to hit this country.
I beg anyone who stumbles upon this post to take a few moments this day and pray for not only those directly affected by this tragedy but those who will find out in the hours and days to come that a loved one has perished. Truly a storm surge of grief is bound to sweep over this land.
As Ike pushes north and northeast the rains associated with it will flood thousands of acres and hundreds of homes in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. Truly a storm the size and with the power of Ike will leave a legacy of equal proportions. I pray the citizens of this country will step up and help in the days ahead in all areas impacted by this storm.