You probably have heard much over the past couple of days about the Galveston Seawall. It was constructed in the early 20th century after Galveston was destroyed by the storm surge of the Hurricane of 1900. The purpose of the seawall is to protect the east side of Galveston Island from similar storm surges. Here is a picture of the seawall:
As you can see, the ocean usually laps up on the beach 75 yards or so away from the seawall. On most days, the ocean rarely gets close to the seawall, even during high tide.
The picture below shows the seawall on Friday morning as Hurricane Ike was still over 100 miles from Galveston in the Gulf of Mexico:
(picture by David J. Phillip/Associated Press)
As you can see, the storm surge from Ike was beginning to breach the seawall over 12 hours before the eye of Ike was scheduled to make landfall.
Weather analysts estimate the the highest point of the surge will occur around midnight on Friday as the Ike’s eye makes landfall just west of the seawall during high tide. By that time, the seawall will be little more than a concrete sandbar under the waters of the Gulf of Mexico that are inundating Galveston.