I have a much larger post coming out about Ike and hurricanes in general, but for now here is a quick update:
Ike is going to come ashore between Seven PM tongight and Seven AM tomorrow morning. Since it is a very large storm, the most severe winds will be affecting a very large area.
The estimate for the storm surge is such that if Ike comes ashore at just the right place and at just the right time and intensifies just enough, Galveston Texas will be flooded and everyone there faces a very serious risk of being killed in this storm. The chances of this happening are not good enough to bet a lot of money on, but they are plenty good enough to leave Galveston.
Ike is not going to change its course ... the center is going to hit very near to Galveston. However, it is not going to strengthen too much more, and remains a Category 2 storm. Nonetheless, the total energy in this storm is quite large, and it is a geographically vast storm, which kind of makes up for it's lack of strength at any one point.
Here is the National Hurricane Center Advsiory unedited:
WTNT34 KNHC 121751
HURRICANE IKE INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 46A
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092008
100 PM CDT FRI SEP 12 2008
...WINDS AND SEAS INCREASING ON THE UPPER TEXAS COAST AS HURRICANE
AT 1 PM CDT...1800 UTC...THE HURRICANE WARNING SOUTH OF PORT ARANSAS
TEXAS HAS BEEN REPLACED WITH A TROPICAL STORM WARNING. A HURRICANE
WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA TO NORTH OF
PORT ARANSAS. HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH THE COAST
IN THE WARNING AREA LATER TODAY.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM PORT ARANSAS TO
PORT MANSFIELD TEXAS. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS ALSO IN EFFECT
FROM EAST OF MORGAN CITY TO THE MISSISSIPPI-ALABAMA BORDER...
INCLUDING THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS AND LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN.
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED
BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
AT 100 PM CDT...1800Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE IKE WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 27.4 NORTH...LONGITUDE 93.1 WEST OR ABOUT 165
MILES...270 KM...SOUTHEAST OF GALVESTON TEXAS AND ABOUT 270
MILES...430 KM...EAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI TEXAS.
IKE IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 12 MPH...19 KM/HR. A
TURN TOWARD THE NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED LATER TODAY...WITH A TURN
TOWARD THE NORTH EXPECTED ON SATURDAY. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE
CENTER OF IKE WILL BE VERY NEAR THE UPPER TEXAS COAST BY LATE TODAY
OR EARLY SATURDAY. HOWEVER...BECAUSE IKE IS A VERY LARGE TROPICAL
CYCLONE...WEATHER WILL BEGIN TO DETERIORATE ALONG THE COASTLINE
DATA FROM BOTH NOAA AND AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE PLANES INDICATE
THAT THE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 105 MPH...165
KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. IKE IS A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE
SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE BUT COULD REACH THE COAST AS A CATEGORY
THREE...MAJOR HURRICANE. STRONGER WINDS...ESPECIALLY IN
GUSTS...ARE LIKELY ON HIGH RISE BUILDINGS.
IKE REMAINS A VERY LARGE TROPICAL CYCLONE. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS
EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 120 MILES...195 KM...FROM THE CENTER...AND
TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 275 MILES...445 KM.
ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE FROM A RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT IS
957 MB...28.26 INCHES.
COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF UP TO 20 FEET...WITH A FEW SPOTS TO
NEAR 25 FEET...ABOVE NORMAL TIDE ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS
BATTERING WAVES...CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE
CENTER OF IKE MAKES LANDFALL. THE SURGE EXTENDS A GREATER THAN
USUAL DISTANCE FROM THE CENTER DUE TO THE LARGE SIZE OF THE
CYCLONE. WATER LEVELS HAVE ALREADY RISEN BY MORE THAN 5 FEET ALONG
MUCH OF THE NORTHWESTERN GULF COAST.
IKE IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 5 TO 10 INCHES OVER
EASTERN TEXAS AND EXTREME SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA...WITH ISOLATED
AMOUNTS OF 15 INCHES POSSIBLE.
ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE TODAY OVER PORTIONS OF SOUTHERN
LOUISIANA AND EXTREME SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI. ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE
POSSIBLE TONIGHT OVER PORTIONS OF SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA AND
REPEATING THE 100 PM CDT POSITION...27.4 N...93.1 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 12 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...105
MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...957 MB.
THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT
400 PM CDT.
Just seeing the words Galveston and hurricane in the same post creep me out. They didn't even open our office in the area today. No one was allowed to come to work.