Yikes, Ike!

Monday, September 15th 2008, 5:09 pm
By: News 9

By News9 Meteorologist Carrie Rose.

Ike has caused tremendous damage from wind and rain, not just along the landfalling Gulf Coast, but also in a swath stretching through the Southern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast.  As the remnants of Ike were caught up in a cold front progressing eastward through the Midwest, severe weather continued.  The Associated Press reports, "Two million homes and businesses in Ohio and more than 300,000 in three other states are without power. Hurricane Ike and its remnants are being blamed for heavy rains, high winds and flash flooding. At least 34 people have died, from Texas to New York."

Severe winds up to 75mph tore through Kentucky.  Record-breaking rainfall fell in Indiana, where South Bend recorded not only its wettest September on record, but its wettest month ever, at 13.65."

For a complete list of rainfall totals associated with Ike and the cold front, click here.

I gathered a list of the highest recorded wind gusts from Ike, as reported from various National Weather Service storm statements and emergency managers.

Ike Top Recorded Gusts:

      Anahuac, TX                           102 mph

      Sea Rim State Park, TX             99

      Sabine Pass, LA                        95

      Houston, TX                              92

      Nederland, TX                           91

      Eagle Point, TX                         89

      20E Galveston, TX                    85

      Freeport, TX                           83

      Westlake, LA                          79

      Galveston Pleasure Pier, TX   78

      Lake Charles, LA                    77

      Louisville, KY                          75

      Covington, KY                        74

      Pasadena, TX                         74

      Lufkin, TX                               69

      Huntingburg, IN                     67

      Fort Knox, KY                         64

      Owensboro, KY                      63

      Walnut Ridge, AR                   62

      Jacksonville, TX                      61

      Morgan's Point, TX                 61

      Popular Bluff, MO                   61

      Shreveport, TX                       56

      Abbeville, LA                          55

      Sugar Land, TX                      54

Of course, the storm surge was a significant contributor to the devastation along the coast.  Storm surge along the northeast Texas and west Louisiana coast ranged at most 10 to 14 feet.  The highest surge was in Sabine Pass, LA at nearly 15 feet.  Many buildings on Galveston Island had eight feet of water in them from the storm.  You can view the aerial photographs taken of Ike's damage along the Texas Gulf Coast here.  Just click on the individual boxes to zoom in.  Some of the worst surge damage can be seen here and here

Ike was just one part of a "triple threat" to Oklahoma over the past week.  Much of our weather was dominated by an approaching cold front and abundant tropical moisture flowing in from the southwest from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lowell in the Pacific.  As the front nudged into northwest Oklahoma toward the latter part of the week, the tropical moisture continued to lift over that boundary and lead to very heavy rainfall in northwest Oklahoma.  Here are some of Oklahoma's highest totals over the past week:

Fairview                11.83"

Orienta                10.45"

Helena                   9.95"

Putnam                  7.86"

Seiling                    7.59"

Medford                  7.54"

Camargo                 6.62"

Wister                      5.88"

Cherokee                 5.85"

Mooreland                5.82"

Alva                          5.10"

Red Rock                  4.59"

Most of Oklahoma is now wetter than normal for the year-to-date, with parts of eastern Oklahoma running 16" above average through September 14. 

Ike's effects will be felt not just for days, or weeks, but in some places for years.  Historical landmarks in Galveston have been lost forever.  Beachfront homes were obliterated, leaving only a grid footprint of stilts in the sand to indicate a home once stood there.  Anytime I see a natural disaster like this, I cannot comprehend the overwhelming gravity the survivors must experience.  Where do you start to clean up when there's nothing left?