Thursday, September 11, 2008

Did Galveston need "convincing" to call for an evacuation for Hurricane Ike?

We're hoping everyone in Galveston is staying calm.

The reason is, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst makes it sound like state officials had to engage in some persuasion to get the mayor of Galveston to call for a mandatory evacuation of the island for Hurricane Ike.

Interviewed on CNN around 2 p.m., Dewhurst said:

"We've just convinced earlier this morning the mayor of Galveston to order an evacaution, so we're trying to get everyone out ..."

It wasn't just his words. His tone also made it sound like Galveston officials were reluctant to call for an evacuation.

The lieutenant governor added: "This water that comes in could be almost be like a tsunami. If it's a Category 4 it could be 15, 16 feet. And in some of our computer models, the entire island of Galveston (could be) under water. That's why as we speak we're moving people out of the hospital there and getting everyone off the island," Dewhurst told CNN.

Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas ordered the evacuation around 11 a.m. today.

All of this makes us harken back to 1983, when Hurricane Alicia hit Galveston.

After the storm came ashore, there was no power -- not even at City Hall, where the council members convened in candlelight to sort out what to do next.

Why no power?

Isn't there an emergency generator at City Hall just for times like these?

Why, of course there is.

But no one had bothered to put any oil in it ... for God knows how long.

Gus Manuel, mayor of Galveston at the time, took some flak for the oversight. He didn't call for an evacuation of Galveson at the time, either, which turned out to be the right call, we guess, since of the 22 people killed in the storm, none lived on the island.

Sometimes, it's better to be lucky than smart.

Speaking of Hurricane Alicia, SciGuy notes that one of the two tracks Ike is now likely to take will closely follow Alicia's path.

SciGuy, (pictured here) says there are differences between the two storms:

The biggest difference between Alicia and Ike is that the latter storm is larger, and has been over the Gulf of Mexico longer, and therefore has the potential to deliver a much greater surge. How much? Potentially as much as 20 feet in some locations, but more likely 12 to 15 feet along Galveston Island.

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