With the passing of Hurricane Ike, emergency responders in the Houston and Galveston area begin the task of aiding and rescuing the approximately 140,000 people who chose not to evacuate the area as the storm approached. Debris and flooding made the task extremely difficult and hazardous for those tasked with helping recover from the devastating storm.
Texas Governor Rick Perry expressed frustration at having to put rescuers’ lives on the line for those that chose to ignore the warnings. Thousands of 911 calls poured in as the storm struck Friday night and into Saturday morning. As of Saturday night the governor’s office said 940 people had been saved. Another 600 were rescued from Louisiana floods.
More than 3 million people in Texas were without power at the height of the storm. 180,000 in Louisiana face the same problem. Power providers in the region say it could take weeks before power is fully restored.
Hurricane Ike made landfall over Galveston at 12:10am MDT on Saturday and was over 900 miles across at one point. As the storm moved inland, it continued to produce hurricane condtions for over 100 miles. As damaging as the storm was, it could have been much worse. Authorities had predicted storm surges of 20 to 25 feet but thankfully that did not bear out. The greatest surge occurred at Sabine-Pass near the Texas-Louisiana border and was measured at 15 feet.