Houston decides to stare down Ike instead of leave

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

By MICHAEL GRACZYK, Associated Press Writer 11 minutes ago

HOUSTON – As a gigantic Hurricane Ike steamed through the Gulf of Mexico toward the Texas coast, officials in America’s fourth-largest city made a bold decision: Instead of fleeing, most residents here would stare down the storm.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard before dawn Friday received a radio call for help about a 584-foot bulk freighter stranded 90 miles southeast of Galveston.

Petty Office Patrick Kelley told The Associated Press the ship, hauling petroleum coke, broke down in the path of the hurricane “in a potentially dangerous situation.”

“They’re so far offshore, you’re looking at only helicopter responses. Then you’re dealing with winds,” Kelley said, saying the Coast Guard was weighing its response options.

No details were immediately provided by the Coast Guard on the name of the ship or where it was headed. The vessel was carrying 22 people.

In the Houston area, homeowners were told to board up windows, clear the decks of furniture and stock up on drinking water and non-perishable food. Residents of Galveston, warned by the National Weather Service they could “face certain death,” were ordered to evacuate as were those in low-lying sections of the Houston area.

But officials warned inland residents that they should not flock to the roadways en masse, creating the same kind of gridlock that cost lives — and a little political capital — when Hurricane Rita threatened Houston in 2005.

“It will be, in candor, something that people will be scared of,” Houston Mayor Bill White warned. “A number of people in this community have not experienced the magnitude of these winds.”

The decision is a stark contrast to how emergency management officials responded to Hurricane Rita in 2005. As the storm closed in three years ago, the region implemented its plan: Evacuate the 2 million people in the coastal communities first, past the metropolis of Houston; once they were out of harm’s way, Houston would follow in an orderly fashion.

But three days before landfall, Rita bloomed into a Category 5 and tracked toward the city. City and Harris County officials told Houstonians to hit the road, even while the population of Galveston Island was still clogging the freeways. It was a decision that proved tragic: 110 people died during the effort, making the evacuation more deadly than the eventual Category 4 storm, which killed nine.

With the lessons of that disaster, public officials were left with a vexing choice this time. Because Ike’s path wasn’t clear until just about 48 hours before the storm, officials didn’t have a lot of time to make evacuation calls.

“Almost all of them are in a pretty tough spot,” said Michael Lindell, a Texas A&M University urban planner and emergency management expert. “The problem is elected officials were not elected to be hurricane experts.

“It’s staring into the barrel of a gun. It’s a very challenging problem for them and there isn’t any easy answer.”

Ike was forecast to make landfall early Saturday southwest of Galveston, a barrier island and beach town about 50 miles southeast of downtown Houston and scene of the nation’s deadliest hurricane, the great storm of 1900 that left at least 6,000 dead.

Though Houston didn’t evacuate, low-lying communities predicted to be the bullseye of the storm did. People on the island were ordered evacuated Thursday, joining residents of at least nine zip codes in flood-prone areas of Harris County, in which Houston is located, along with hundreds of thousands of fellow Texans in counties up and down the coastline.

“I don’t have a crystal ball, but if I did, I think it would tell me a sad story,” said Randy Smith, the police chief and a waterfront property owner on Surfside Beach, just down the coast from Galveston and a possible landfall target.

“And that story would be that we’re faced with devastation of a catastrophic range. I think we’re going to see a storm like most of us haven’t seen.”

Most metropolitan residents appeared to be heeding orders and staying put. Edgar Ortiz, a 55-year-old maintenance worker from east Houston, said leaders were providing wise advice, considering what happened during Rita, but said people were inclined to make up their own minds.

“I guess people tend to want to stay where they’re at,” he said as he shopped for bottled water, toilet paper and canned goods. “A lot of people don’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave. You may be taking a risk, but that’s just how it is.”

Maria Belmonte, 42, of Channelview, said she was stuck in traffic for 18 hours as she evacuated for Rita. This time, she was comfortable with the recommendation to stay put — but she said she would reconsider if the forecast worsened Friday.

“We have small kids, and we need to think about their safety,” said Belmonte, a records clerk at an elementary school.

Ike would be the first major hurricane to hit a U.S. metropolitan area since Katrina devastated New Orleans three years ago. For Houston, it would be the first major hurricane since Alicia in August 1983 came ashore on Galveston Island, killing 21 people and causing $2 billion in damage.

Ike is so big, it could inflict a punishing blow even in those areas that do not get a direct hit. Forecasters warned because of Ike’s size and the shallow Texas coastal waters, it could produce a surge, or wall of water, 20 feet high, and waves of perhaps 50 feet. It could also dump 10 inches or more of rain.

At 8 a.m. EDT Friday, the storm was centered about 230 miles southeast of Galveston, moving to the west-northwest near 13 mph. Ike was a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds near 105 mph.

Hurricane warnings were in effect over a 400-mile stretch of coastline from south of Corpus Christi to Morgan City, La., and many residents who fled Hurricane Gustav two weeks ago only to be spared in East Texas were packing up again Thursday.

Tropical storm warnings extended south almost to the Mexican border and east to the Mississippi-Alabama line, including New Orleans.

The oil and gas industry was closely watching the storm because it was headed straight for the nation’s biggest complex of refineries and petrochemical plants. The upper Texas coast accounts for one-fifth of U.S. refining capacity.

The first rain and wind was set to arrive later Friday. Residents were scurrying to get ready, and hardware stores put limits on the number of gas containers that could be sold. Batteries, drinking water and other storm supplies were running low, and grocery stores were getting set to close. Houston was slowly shutting down, and people beginning to head inside. The only thing to do was wait and see what Ike had in store.

“It’s a big storm,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said. “I cannot overemphasize the danger that is facing us. It’s going to do some substantial damage. It’s going to knock out power. It’s going to cause massive flooding.”


Associated Press Writers Kelley Shannon in Austin, Paul Weber in Dallas, Juan A. Lozano and John Porretto in Houston, and video journalist Rich Matthews in Surfside Beach contributed to this story.



2 Responses to “Houston decides to stare down Ike instead of leave”

  1. July 21, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    I do not know if it’s just me or if everyone else experiencing problems
    with your blog. It seems like some of the written text
    within your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is
    happening to them too? This could be a problem with my internet browser
    because I’ve had this happen before. Appreciate it

  2. September 24, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post,
    I’ll try to get the hang of it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This Site Has

  • 40,736 Footprints and is better viewed with Mozilla Firefox. Internet Explorer sucks.

Who I Is?

♥MissChriss♥ I'm just a crazy girl in love . I love being in love. I'm a 26 years old aquarian black female who resides in Houston, Texas. No kids...haven't made up my mind on that one yet however I pray that God will bless me to be able to give birth to healthy beautiful babies one day if I so shall. I love to write, read, cook, shop, fuck, and cater to my man : ) I am a great listener, very supportive, laid back, and loyal. I value honesty above all else. I always say the worst truth is better than the best lie. I am a forgiving person although I admit I forget nothing. I am a lazy procrastinator who gets defensive and wears her heart on her sleeve. I have trust issues. You'll find me blogging about my life, my love life, my work life, and my wants and fears. My goal is to be in school by 2009. What I want to do with my life changes day to day. One moment I want to teach , the next social work, nursing. I am still trying to find me. I am a work in progress. Soo....."Don't Trip, He Ain't Finished With Me Yet!"

Just Me


Just Call Me B's Girl And I Wears That Hat Well

I Love Him

I Support Him

And BestFriend Him


September 2008
« Aug   Oct »


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Subscribe via Newsburst from CNET News.com
Add to Google
Add to My AOL
Subscribe in FeedLounge
Add to netvibes
Subscribe in Bloglines

Add to Bitty Browser
Add to Plusmo
Subscribe via ODEO
Subscribe in podnova

My blog is worth $564.54.
How much is your blog worth?


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBorn in Houston in the fall of 1981, Beyonce Giselle Knowles started performing at age seven. From dance classes to singing in the church choir, Beyonce was a natural. She and cousin Kelly Rowland met Latavia Roberson during this time, and the trio formed a group with Letoya Luckett. Mathew Knowles, Beyonce's father and Rowland's legal guardian, signed on to be the girls' manager. This situation would ultimately lead to the formation of one of the most popular female R&B groups of all time -- Destiny's Child. Destiny's Child made its debut 1990 and within ten years, the vocal act had experienced personal and political highs and lows that fueled the group's desire to make it big. Destiny's Child sold 33 million albums worldwide by 2002 and earned a slew of Grammys and additional music awards. "Jumpin' Jumpin'," "Bills, Bills, Bills," "Say My Name," and "Survivor" were smash hits, and the group appeared unstoppable. In 2001, Beyoncé, Rowland, and Michelle Williams allowed themselves a break from the singing group and tried their hands at individual solo careers. Before landing several movie roles, Beyoncé became the first African-American female artist and second woman ever to win the annual ASCAP Pop Songwriter of the Year Award. An appearance in the MTV drama Carmen: A Hip Hopera quickly followed, but it was her role as Foxxy Cleopatra in Austin Powers in Goldmember in 2002 that eventually moved Beyoncé from the stage to the screen. Her first single, "Work It Out," coincided with the release of the Mike Myers comedy and cemented her celebrity status. A guest spot on Jay-Z's "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" was equally popular when it appeared in October. In 2003, she rejoined Jay-Z for her proper debut single, the funkadelic "Crazy in Love," as the press and fans christened her a bona fide star. Beyoncé's debut album, Dangerously in Love, which appeared in June 2003, featured collaborations with Sean Paul, Missy Elliott, and OutKast's Big Boi. The multi-platinum album spawned a total of four Top Ten singles. Nearly two years after another Destiny's Child album (Destiny Fulfilled), Beyoncé released her second album, B'day. ~ MacKenzie Wilson, All Music Guide... website statistics

%d bloggers like this: