Hurricane Ike made landfall early Saturday morning, flooding thousands of home across the Gulf Coast. The damage, as the winds still pitch around 80 miles per hour, is hard to estimate but Galveston Island has been vastly flooded. One death has been reported. A woman in Pinehurst, Texas, who has not been identified, died when a tree fell on her home.
Millions are without power and hundred of thousands of people remain stranded. The National Guard has been deployed to find people in homes, particularly in Galveston, where search and rescue teams are facing strong winds from the storm.
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) Roads are washed out, thousands of buildings are flooded and millions are without power after Hurricane Ike slammed into the southeast Texas coast overnight. With the storm still raging, the full scope of the damage has yet to be assessed. But experts say the surge of water crashing into Galveston was about half what was predicted.
LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Hurricane Ike has brought serious flooding to the Louisiana coast, where hundreds of homes have been inundated. Rescue teams are out, answering calls for help. The mayor of Lake Charles says flooding there is worse than in Hurricane Rita three years ago.
As dawn broke, emergency officials were fielding pleas for help from residents along the coast who remained behind and were trapped in their homes. Texas Gov. Rick Perry mobilized 7,500 National Guard troops and his homeland security chief, Steve McGraw, said rescues would start as soon as crews could safely go out.
The eye of the storm powered ashore at 3:10 a.m. EDT (0710 GMT) at Galveston with 110 mph (177 kph) winds, just shy of a Category 3 storm. Because Ike was so huge — nearly as big as Texas itself — hurricane winds pounded the coast for hours before landfall and would continue through much of the morning, with the worst winds and rain after the center came ashore, forecasters said.
Ike is the first major hurricane to hit a U.S. metropolitan area since Katrina devastated New Orleans three years ago. For Houston, it would be the first major hurricane since Alicia in August 1983 came ashore on Galveston Island, killing 21 people and causing $2 billion in damage. Houston has since then seen a population explosion, so many of the residents now in the storm’s path have never experienced the full wrath of a hurricane.