Hurricane Ike

September 13, 2008 "Galveston Hurricane 3"

Juston Drake and Simon Brewer intercepted (rode-out) Catagory 2 Hurricane Ike in Galveston, TX on Galveston Island. They were located near the "Galvez" hotel on the northeastern section of Galveston. Hurricane Ike made landfall on Galveston, TX around 2 am on September 13, 2008 as a Catagory 2 storm with winds sustained near 110mph with higher gusts. Despite being a Catagory 2 storm, there was a Catagory 4 storm surge.

The afternoon of September 11th, 2008 Simon Brewer and Juston Drake arrived on Galveston Island and spent hours scouting the island from north to south to provide valuable recon, which proved crucial in the choice of a suitable location to ride out Hurricane Ike. We were stopped on the south side of Galveston Island by a police road block, because of severe coastal flooding ahead of Ike. The energy transfer from Ike was incredible; coastal flooding was occuring hundreds of miles in advance of the storm. We decided to get a hotel room, take some video and pictures, possibly do some body boarding, and wait till the next morning to move to our final position.

Image to the right is looking south at a building with the title, 'Fishing', on a pier; safe for now...

Juston was enjoying the heavy surf generated by Ike doing some body boarding as shown by the image on the right. The following day massive swells claimed the life of a surfer; we never play in the waves when it appears unsafe, because even the best swimmers can't survive a heavy foam and debris filled ocean.

Image to the right is looking south along the Galveston seawall; locals and media swarm the sea wall and the air is saturated with sea spray.

Morning of September 12, 2008:

We had a long night and recieved an early morning call informing us our hotel was closing and all guests had to leave within the hour. Before leaving the hotel I grabbed some images from our balcony of the heavy morning swells slamming the seawall.

Vehicles on driving along Seawall Blvd. were hit by waves and debris as shown in the image to the right.

Image on the right shows massive waves crashing around the Galveston Fishing Pier on the morning of September 12th.

Juston and I thought, "if the waves are this big now, then how will these buildings survive through the night when the surge reaches a peak?" Most of those buildings did not survive the storm surge and associated waves.

Image on the right shows a pier already under severe threat from the morning waves, which only got larger as the day continued.

Reporters, not sure for what organization, are battered by large waves crashing along the seawall; a few waves completely inundated them, which made standing so close to the seawall very hazardous. People could have easily been knocked off their feet and swept off the seawall into the dangerous surf.

Large waves were amazing!

Image on the right was looking north along the Galveston Seawall.

More waves; it was difficult keeping the lense clean from sea salt spray. The air was saturated with fine sea spray, which left salt deposits on every exposed surface.

Image on the right shows the "Fishing" building, which was shown in a picture above from the day before. Now, on the morning of the 12th, the building was being hit by large waves, which were far from the floor of the building the previous day.

Image on the right shows a historic building, The Balinese Room, which was being battered by large swells in advance of Hurricane Ike. The building was famous for stores, a dance hall, and Frank Sinatra. Unfortunately this building was completely destroyed by Hurricane Ike that night.

Afternoon of September 12th:

The image on the right shows large waves crashing along the Galveston Seawall, while debris already litters the street. The sky blue building was virtually obliterated later that night.

Image to the right is looking at the Balinese Room (building) from a parking garage associated with the Galvez Hotel. We were able to get permission to ride out the hurricane in the parking garage. We had decided this garage was one of the safest locations on the island, and possibly the safest location so close to the seawall. It would have taken a 35-40 foot storm surge to threaten our position in the Garage. We normally do not seek shelter in a parking garage, but the abnormally large storm surge expected from Ike forced us to find a stronger and higher than usual hurricane shelter.

The eye of Hurricane Ike was over our location when the pic on the right was taken: this image was looking south at a fire in the distance, making a large orange glow on the horrizon, and water can be seen below. The seawall only protected Galveston from waves, but the storm surge flowed around the edges of the seawall and flooded nearly the entire city.

Image on the right was looking west at a neighborhood behind the parking garage; the orange glow of a fire can be seen in the distance and the storm surge can be seen below.

The atmosphere was completely calm in the center of Ike's 'eye', which made it possible to take this picture on the top of the parking garage. Juston and I pose with the barometer, which read 954mb. The smiles were due to a successful chase, not due to the destruction caused by the storm. Our goal was to intercept the center of Ike's circulation, which happened to take us to Galveston.

Image to the right is looking west toward downtown Galveston, which shows the storm surge flooding the city. The winds were already beginning to increase from the north-northwest as this picture was taken, which indicated the 'eye' was almost past our location.

We documented the eastern eyewall of Ike, but after the eyewall passed we parked the car in a location in the garage to protect us from the wind and we quickly fell asleep. The following morning we woke to naked pilars poking out of the sea. The image on the right shows the old location of the Balinese.

Image on the right is looking south along Seawall Blvd. at a massive pile of rubble, which had washed onto the road by crashing waves along the seawall. The pile of debris was mostly composed of wood from destroyed buildings like the Balinese.

Image on the right shows the 'sky blue' building, or at least what was left of it, the morning after Hurricane Ike.

Image on the right shows a flooded street in Galveston the morning of September 13th. Live oaks lined this flooded street, which resembled parts of Louisianna after Hurricane Katrina. I can only imagine the destruction Ike would have caused if there were not a seawall protecting the city from battering waves. Many structures in Galveston may have been flooded, but they were not destroyed. This shows the importance of disaster prevention.

Image on the right shows a boat stranded in someones front yard.

Image on the right shows a fire truck navigating the flooded streets.

Image on the right shows a boat stranded after Ike's storm surge had receeded from the west side of Galveston.



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