Alarmed by Ike

Jeff Masters isn’t liking what he’s seeing as Hurricane Ike rebuilds in the Gulf of Mexico. Texas is in the crosshairs:

Ike is likely to be a extremely dangerous major hurricane at landfall, and will likely do $10-$30 billion in damage. The chances of hundreds of people being killed in this storm is high if people do not heed evacuation orders. It is possible that Ike will make a direct hit on Galveston as a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds. The potential storm surge from such a hit could be in the 15-25 foot range, which is capable of overwhelming the 17 foot sea wall in Galveston. I put the odds of such an event at about 5%. 

Damp Squib

Hurricanes are a fact of late-summer life even at the inland locale where I live. Mostly, they’re just annoying, much like earthquakes in Los Angeles. Occasionally they’re a much bigger deal. Hanna turned out to be nothing much. We got a boatload of rain and what sounded in the morning like just a little bit of wind. The rain was welcome, as we’ve been in a drought thanks largely to the lack of tropical storm activity the past couple of years.

Gustav Line

Via Galrahn, the Department of Defense at least is ready for Hurricane Gustav:

The command has activated four defense coordinating elements at the regional FEMA headquarters. The command provides unique DoD capabilities for disaster response. Rowe said three active-duty military installations have been designated as FEMA logistics points: Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.; Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.; and the Naval Air Station at Meridian, Miss. 

The 10th Mountain Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team in Fort Drum, N.Y., is the quick-reaction force for the homeland. “They are provided with situational awareness and provided with prepare-to-deploy orders if needed,” Rowe said. 

In addition, Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., has given direction to three amphibious ships — the USS Bataan, the USS Nassau and the USS Ponce — to be prepared to sortie if needed. The command also has at its disposal additional communications, engineering, and aviation units.

Unfortunately, it looks like they’ll be needed: