Hurricane Ike Update

This also fails to mention the likelihood of an extensive tornado outbreak-from Texas/Louisiana up into at least the Lower Mississippi Valley-along w/ much flash flooding & tropical-storm-force winds in these inland areas-that may even move further inland (Ohio-Tennessee Valleys) later.

This will not be pretty…


——– Original Message ——–
Subject:     Hurricane Ike update
Date:     Fri, 12 Sep 2008 12:35:45 -0700
From:     Fred Heutte <phred@SUNLIGHTDATA.COM>
Reply-To:     Fred Heutte <phred@SUNLIGHTDATA.COM>

There is a lot of media coverage but here are some key points:

* Hurricane Ike is a very large, dangerous storm that covers much of the Gulf of Mexico.  While it has held a quite steady course and has not gained much in wind force, it is poised for a direct hit on Galveston and Houston.

* Hurricane Ike will landfall at or close to Galveston Island around 2 am Saturday morning as a Category 2 storm with winds around 105-115 mph. Hurricane force winds will be felt in coastal areas for as much as 6 hours prior to that and will affect areas well inland as it turns sharply toward the north.  Millions of homes will lose power as
the storm damages the electrical grid.

* The storm surge may be as high as 20 feet and many coastal areas
will be completely underwater.

* Ike did not cause much damage to oil and gas rigs and platforms
in the central Gulf but is now crossing the major offshore facilities in the western Gulf.  Thanks to Club rep Jon Ullman from the Miami office and Richard Charter for noting that the Oil Drum web site has
current and interesting graphics such as this:

* Ike’s storm surge reached southeastern Louisiana in Plaquemines,
Jefferson, Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes yesterday and is moving westward.  From Morgan City west hurricane force winds are expected. In some areas flooding will be higher than Katrina, Rita and Gustav. See the article below.  Floodgates are being closed in New Orleans at the 17th Street Canal, London Avenue Canal and Harvey Canal as the storm pushed levels in Lake Pontchartrain above 5 feet.

* Here is the scene on Louisiana Highway 1 in Leeville yesterday.
This is the only road to Port Fourchon, where over 20% of America’s oil and gas comes onshore.  Energy development throughout the Gulf Coast has led to coastal erosion and intrusion of saltwater from the Gulf, decreasing the capacity to absorb to storm surges.

Also see:

— fh


Rerun of Rita: flooding inundates bayou communities
After Gustav brings winds, Ike brings flooding

Published: Friday, September 12, 2008 at 9:36 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 12, 2008 at 11:35 a.m.

HOUMA — The situation in Montegut, Pointe-aux-Chenes, Dulac and other bayou communities is beginning to look like Rita or worse, the local levee director said this morning.

“The water is very high in some areas much like Rita, and a height in some areas that weÂ’ve never seen before,” said Windell Curole, interim regional levee director for Terrebonne and Lafourche.

Hurricane Rita, a seminal event for Terrebonne, flooded an estimated 10,000 homes and businesses in the parish’s bayou communities, pushing flood water as far north as east Houma. The hurricane caused massive damage despite never coming closer than 200 miles from Terrebonne, making landfall at the Louisiana-Texas border.

The storm and its effects awakened many locals to the fact that years of neglecting coastal erosion and failure to build any kind of
hurricane-protection levee system — despite years of lobbying by
local and state interests seeking federal money — have made
Terrebonne vulnerable to serious flooding even from weaker storms as well as those that deliver only a glancing blow to the parish.

Ike, a growing Category 2 storm this morninging about 300 miles off
the Terrebonne and Lafourche coasts, is expected to make landfall
Saturday near Galveston, Texas.

Today, hundreds of yards of levee in Montegut and Pointe-aux-Chenes are being overtopped, and if it continues officials expect significant levee failures in those areas, Curole said.

Terrebonne levee officials confirmed the breach in the Montegut levee this morning, saying it would be impossible to sandbag the levee by hand or by air.

Residents in these areas are warned to get out.

Officials had not determined how many homes may have flooded so far, and some roads were already impassable, making estimates difficult or impossible to produce.

Levee breaches have already been reported in Montegut between
Boudreaux Canal and the Bayou Terrebonne floodgate, but Curole said the breach is “not a total failure yet.” But if water continues to rise he expects multiple failures of the levee.

Overtopping has also been reported in Dulac, and Curole said heÂ’s also heard of levee overtopping problems beginning in Chauvin.

Montegut-Pointe-aux-Chenes Volunteer Fire Chief Spencer Rhodes said the Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area and Isle de Jean Charles were completely impassable because of flood waters, and officials did not know the conditions down there.

“There are problems up and down the bayou,” Curole said. “I would tell people if you had an event for Rita, you need to be ready to take action. This is working out to be a Rita-type event.”

Winds causing the flooding are expected to continue into the night. Curole said if the water goes down, they might have a chance to save some of the levees. But for now parish officials can only work to sandbag some individual locations that are not overtopping severely.

Jerome Zeringue, a top aide in the Governor’s Office of Coastal
Activities said that Gov. Bobby Jindal is aware of the situation and
state emergency officials are sending portable pumps to lower
Terrebonne to help combat the flooding.

Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Vernon Bourgeois said deputies are being dispatched to the lower bayou areas to help evacuate people from flood-imperiled communities.

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