The extreme storm surge of Hurricane Ike is causing a disaster in Galveston, Texas, which is about 50 miles southeast of Houston. The Coast Guard announced earlier today that the authorities believe that Galveston Island will be completely submerged for at least 12 hours.
The Galveston City Manager and Mayor were just interviewed on local television at 3 p.m. They estimated that between 25-40% of Galveston’s residents (10-20,000 people) did not heed the mandatory evacuation order and have remained on the now-almost completely flooded island. It is now too late to evacuate the island.
Ball High School and the San Luis high-rise resort facility on Seawall Blvd have been opened as relief centers for Galveston residents who stayed. However, widespread flooding on the island makes getting to the centers risky, to say the least.
It is currently estimated that over 1 million residents of the Houston metropolitan area near the coast evacuated over the past several days. Many of those residents will likely have neither a livable home nor power when they return.
This is looking very, very bad.