Texans told Ike brings “certain death” for those who do not evacuate

Hurricane Ike is headed straight for Texas with a bullseye painted on Galveston, and the warnings have become dire: a potential surge tsunami, a wall of water 20 feet high, waves 50 feet high…  For low lying areas like on the Texas Gulf Coast, this is lethal stuff.

Being a Texas boy, I’ve been to the coast many times, including Feast of Tabernacles observances at Corpus Christi, and have had family members living there.  I pray that our brethren in the area are out of harms way and that all are praying for their safety and for the safety of those around them.

Some warning quotes from an article in the UK’s Daily Mail Online:

  • People on the Gulf-side of Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula in single- or two-story homes who ignore the evacuation order “will face certain death” according to the local weather forecasting office.
  • “This is a surge tsunami.  This is not rising water.  People have to leave.” — a warning from Jack Colley and Texas’ emergency management team.
  • For those in Houston, 50 miles away: “We are still saying: Please shelter in place, or to use the Texas expression, hunker down.”  This from Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.
  • Also from Mr. Emmett: “We’re not talking about gently rising water.  We’re talking about a surge that will come into your homes.”

You might take a look at the Mail Online article (I know: it seems odd for a Texas boy to be getting his news about a Texas hurricane from a UK newspaper’s website*).  It has some amazing pictures of Ike from space as well as photos of Ike’s wrath in Cuba.  Noted in the article is the fact that it was 108 (Thanks, Craig & Summer for the help with my math!) years ago this month (September 8 ) when around 10,000 people were killed in Galveston by a hurricane with a four-foot surge.

If Ike hits as hard as feared, the cost in lives, property, and economic impact could be huge.  If it doesn’t, it may be quite some time before such dire warnings are taken seriously again.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
* That said, the UK article’s last sentence is seriously in error.  It claims that Houston was made the capital of Texas instead of Galveston because of the 1900 hurricane.  This is errant in several ways.  It sounds as though Houston is currently the capital of Texas, instead of Austin.  Houston was only the capital from 1837-1839.  Next, did you note those years?  Houston was the capital 63 years before the Galveston hurricane.  Austin became the capital of Texas (and still is) 61 years before the Galveston hurricane.  In fact, the Capital Building in Austin (taller than the one in Washington D.C. and one of the most beautiful in the country), which still stands today opened in 1888, 12 years before the hurricane.  Where in the world did the Daily Mail get this horrifically wrong non-factoid?

6 thoughts on “Texans told Ike brings “certain death” for those who do not evacuate

  1. Summer

    2008 years ago this month? You might be a little overzealous with that figure. 🙂 Gas isn’t the only thing that will be rising in price after this storm. With Ike and Gustav combined there will be a soar in construction materials and an even greater need for help from electrical companies. In Louisiana there are still about 65,000 without electricity and debris is everywhere. On the way back from Texas on Sunday, Ben and I saw several convoys of electrical trucks coming down to help. They’ve been here through the week and will probably stay for another, unless summoned back to Texas. With the massiveness of Ike and the vulnerability that Baton Rouge still has, many places of business and schools have decided to close down this afternoon. This certainly has been a fine “Welcome to Louisiana” for me. 🙂

  2. Oops — Thanks, Summer! Let’s not tell your husband about this, eh? (I may have graduated Magna Cum Laude with a mathematics degree, but I am an Aggie, after all!)

    I have corrected the error. Thanks, again! (And welcome to the Land of the Gulf Coast, by the way…)

  3. Craig

    (As of this time, error is not corrected.) Several years ago I read the gripping book “Isaac’s Storm” by Erik Larson about the story of the 1900 hurricane in Galveston. It is mind-boggling to be projected back in time to when there was no advanced satellite warning of impending doom, and people flocked to the beach to see the large waves. (Actually there was warning from Cuba, but ignored.) At least today people have several days warning. That doesn’t help homes, but at least lives are saved now.

  4. As gas prices jumped in my area yesterday, I heard one or two people claiming Ike was simply being used as an excuse by the oil companies to increase prices.

    I finally asked one man if we wanted Houston residents to keep working at refineries during the hurricane — to sacrifice their lives, simply so we could keep driving.

    He didn’t have a response for that.

    May God protect His people, in this time which could test anyone’s faith.

  5. P.S. to what I wrote before — I was remnded today of the time my family vacationed in Galveston, when I was a teen.

    I was disappointed that there wasn’t much open beach on the island, compared with Florida locations such as Destin or Panama City Beach. But the seawall was there for a reason — a lesson learned from the disaster of 1900.

    That seawall (as I recall) was built on big rocks. The storm surge probably overwhelmed it, but the seawall probably stood.

    May the brethren in that area be firm on the true Rock of Jesus, over the days and weeks ahead.

  6. The sensationalism and inaccurate terms don’t help people take warnings seriously. “Wall of water” and “surge tsunami” don’t describe the situation. It IS “gently rising water”; just lots of it. The slowly rising water was shown on the news before Hurricane Ike landed. It even attracted sightseeing. The small waves of the rising surge pounded planks off piers and broke down break-away walls before Ike even landed. Afterwards, the water slowly subsides. I was impressed with the uncommon efficiency of the drainage in my apartment complex.

    The undramatic “twenty foot storm surge” and the evacuation zone maps were the most valuable pieces of information. Twenty-foot storm surge, nine-foot waves, seventeen-foot high Galveston seawall; the math is simple. “Certain death” is an appropriate warning. Wolf Blitzer’s repetition of “certain death” was just sensationalism.

    Gas prices haven’t changed at my favorite gas-price-checkpoint, and only two cents more thirty miles south-east of there. However, there were lengthy gas lines the first few days after the hurricane.

    Utility trucks are quite abundant, now.

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