7AM FRI: This modified and enlarged map from the StormPulse tracking site shows that hurricane force winds of possibly 100 mph or greater will encompass the entire Houston metro area, especially considering the NHC official track has shifted again to the right. This already horrific projection is assuming Ike does not increase in intensity from the current landfall expectation of Category 3 at 115 mph. Gusts may exceed 125 mph. If you're inside this zone, prepare for sustained winds at or above 75 mph for at least 10 hours, with a period of 100 mph or higher for a few hours inside that as the center nears the city. It is looking more likely this storm makes a direct hit on Houston and will not pull a "Rita" and shift considerably in some other direction.
It may sound too doomsday to you, but the graphic headline of "Certain Death" reported in the news this morning is the most focused way to sum up this situation for those staying behind to face a 20-foot storm surge. (This warning originates in the NWS text of a hurricane statement for Houston). We are facing a near-catastrophic event which could become the Katrina of Texas in terms of damage and flooding.
What do you suppose a 14-20 feet storm surge will do to a beautiful place like the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Galveston? Rebuilt after being nearly totally destroyed in the 1900 Hurricane, it is possible that today's storm poses the greatest threat to this symbolic and spiritual center since that fateful September day 108 years ago. With most of the island projected to be underwater and flooding to the eaves of many homes, it is not a surprise the mayor finally ordered a mandatory evacuation of the entire island city. Those who stay do so at their own peril.