Louisiana Won’t Be Spared by Ike

September 12, 2008

Although Galveston, Texas, is expected to experience the brunt of the storm, Hurricane Ike is a very, very large storm, extending nearly 900 miles across according to some estimates. Louisiana figured it might have been given a reprieve earlier in the week when the then-expected path of Hurricane Ike would have taken it further south toward Corpus Christi.

No more.

Ike is expected to make landfall on the upper Texas coast around midnight, but the effects of the massive storm have already begun to impact Louisiana’s coastline. The National Hurricane Center expects a tidal surge along coastal Louisiana to reach up to 19 feet in Sabine Pass, 16 feet in Cameron Parish, 10 to 11 feet of water in Vermillion Parish, and 6 to 7 feet in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes – where water is currently continuing to rise, according to the office of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

Like his neighboring governor, Rick Perry of Texas, Jindal is urging those in the affected parishes along Louisiana’s coast to “get out of harm’s way.” Those in low-lying areas should evacuate immediately, Jindal said at a news conference around mid-day on Sept. 12.

“Do not think that because you have made it through other hurricanes you will be safe where you are,” Jindal said. “Every storm is different. This is a very large storm, and the southeast part of our state is already experiencing many feet of tidal surge. This storm will continue to work its way westward along our cost throughout today and into this evening. We have already had tornado watches issued for our coastal area, and the threat of rising tidal surge could be the most dangerous aspect of this storm. Heed the warnings. It is not too late to leave, but that time is quickly approaching. Please don’t wait. Act now to protect your own life and the safety of your family.”

The governor said Baton Rouge, which is still trying dig itself out of the damage caused by Hurricane Gustave last week, could experience intermittent high wind gusts (tropical storm strength) for 8 to 12 hours; New Orleans for 6 hours. The Houma, Morgan City and Lafayette areas will experience these gusts from 12 to 16 hours, as a result of the storm. Lake Charles will experience hurricane category 1 winds for up to four hours, strong wind gusts from 15 to 20 hours.

The governor’s office reported that most of Cameron Parish has been evacuated and evacuations were underway in St. Mary, Vermillion, Calcasieu, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Iberia, Lafourche St. Tammany, Terrebonne and Parishes, all of which had issued calls for mandatory evacuation in at least portions of those parishes. St. Bernard Parish has issued a voluntary evacuation order for those areas outside of the hurricane protection levee.

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