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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 09/10/2008

Hurricane Ike and Hype Kick Into High Gear

By Jason Samenow

Storm now a Category 2 with 100 mph winds

Latest National Hurricane Center forecast track for Hurricane Ike. Powered by HAMweather.

Despite tracking over a large part of Cuba, Ike maintained much of its structural integrity traversing the hostile landmass. Amazingly, it emerged in the toasty Gulf of Mexico with its core intact, and within hours, unveiled a well-defined eye. As of 2 p.m. today, Ike was both strengthening and growing in size on its way toward the central Gulf, with maximum sustained winds near 100 mph (Category 2) and tropical storm force winds extending up to 205 miles from its center. The blogosphere is already buzzing about the potential for Ike to wreak havoc in the Lonestar state over the weekend.

In a rather masterful assessment of Ike and the vulnerability of the Texas coast, Weather Underground chief meteorologist Jeff Masters wrote:

There is a significant chance that Ike will be the worst hurricane to hit Texas in over 40 years.

Keep reading for more on Ike. For local weather, see our full forecast, and see Andrew's column on the climate-hurricane debate.

Masters says there's a 20% Ike will significantly intensify and make landfall in Texas as a very dangerous Category 4 or 5 hurricane with a 60% chance of a Category 2 or 3 landfall. He likens the potential of Ike to the potential of Carla in 1961, which produced a 10 foot or higher storm surge to a 180-mile stretch of Texas coast and even a 15-foot surge to the bays along the south side of Houston even though the storm center was 120 miles to the southwest.

Eric Berger from the Houston Chronicle, who has documented a catastrophic worst-case hurricane scenario for Houston, cautioned yesterday in his SciGuy blog:

...I do think there's a greater threat to Houston than many people might be thinking right now. By tomorrow it's entirely possible the city of Houston and surrounding counties will be in full hurricane preparation mode.

On the Weather Nerd blog, Brendan Loy of Pajamas Media advised coastal residents of Texas to:

...not play Russian roulette with this storm. Yes, previous hurricanes have made lucky turns. Yes, last-minute weakening often happens, and is possible here. But those fortuities are not guaranteed. Take Ike seriously.

The latest computer models mainly bring Ike ashore between Brownsville and Galveston. With landfall still three days away, there is still the remote possibility that these models are wrong and Ike strikes somewhere other than Texas. Intensity forecasts are also uncertain (with projected landfall intensities varying from Category 1 to 4), but the National Hurricane Center predicts Ike will hit land as a strong Category 3.

Track Ike with the interactive map below.

Powered by hurricane-tracking software from Forecast tracks are the latest from the National Hurricane Center. Pan, zoom, and click on points along the storm's projected track for intensity forecasts.

By Jason Samenow  | September 10, 2008; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Freedman: Climate-Hurricane Debate Yet to Come?
Next: PM Update: Cool Weather to Continue Another Day


The 5 p.m. advisory hoists hurricane watches for the TX coast and now indicates Ike to be a 115kt category 4 at landfall.

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | September 10, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Jeff Masters update:

Ike is likely to be a extremely dangerous major hurricane at landfall, and will likely do $10-$30 billion in damage. The chances of hundreds of people being killed in this storm is high if people do not heed evacuation orders. It is possible that Ike will make a direct hit on Galveston as a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds. More

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | September 10, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Cat 2 at landing - 95 KT winds immediately falling to 65 KT.

More hype. Why? Man - think of all the pissed off people that have been stuck on I45 for 8 hours AGAIN!

Posted by: Roboto | September 12, 2008 1:16 AM | Report abuse

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