11:32 am - Monday May 28, 2012

Hurricane Ike

Hurricane-IkeHurricane Ike was the costliest hurricane ever to impact Cuba, the second-costliest hurricane ever to make landfall in the United States and the second most active hurricane to reach the Canadian mainland (as a tropical storm) in the Great Lakes Region after Hurricane Hazel in 1954. It was the ninth named storm, fifth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. It was a Cape Verde-type hurricane, as it started as a tropical disturbance near Africa at the end of August. On September 1, 2008, it became a tropical storm west of the Cape Verde islands. By the early morning hours of September 4, Ike was a Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph (230 km/h) and a pressure of 935 mbar (27.61 inHg). That made it the most intense Atlantic storm of 2008. Ike passed over the Turks and Caicos Islands as Category 4, with winds 135 mph (215 km/h) on September 7. Moving west along Cuba, it made two landfalls - as a Category 4 hurricane on September 7 and as a Category 1 hurricane two days later. Ike made its final landfall near Galveston, Texas as a strong Category 2 hurricane, on September 13, 2008, at 2:10 a.m. CDT. Hurricane-force winds extended 120 miles (195 km) from the center and tropical storm-force winds extended far beyond that.

Ike was blamed for at least 195 deaths. Of these, 74 were in Haiti, which was already trying to recover from the impact of three storms earlier that year: Fay, Gustav, and Hanna. In the United States, 112 people were killed, and 23 are still missing. Due to its immense size, Ike caused devastation from the Louisiana coastline all the way to the Kenedy County, Texas region near Corpus Christi, Texas. In addition, Ike caused flooding and significant damage along the Mississippi coastline and the Florida Panhandle Damages from Ike in U.S. coastal and inland areas are estimated at $29.6 billion (2008 USD), with additional damage of $7.3 billion in Cuba (the costliest storm ever in that country), $200 million in the Bahamas, and $500 million in the Turks and Caicos, amounting to a total of at least $37.6 billion in damage. Ike was the second costliest Atlantic hurricane of all time, only surpassed by Hurricane Katrina of 2005 (not adjusted for inflation; if adjusted, Ike would be the third costliest storm). It became the largest search-and-rescue operation in U.S. history. It was also resulted in millions leaving the Houston/Galveston area and other parts of Texas. However, Hurricane Rita still holds the designation as the largest U.S. evacuation in history. At one point, Ike was over 600 miles in diameter.

Impact of Hurricane Ike

Power was lost throughout Grand Turk Island, 95% of the houses were damaged, one-fifth of which was significant damage. There was also significant structural damage to roofs and buildings containing health services resulting in the disruption of most health services. Pharmacy stores, and supplies facilities received major damage or total destruction. Water and electricity were also disrupted but now has been restored. There was some damage to the clinic on Salt Cay. In North Caicos and Middle Caicos, there was either no damage or minimal damage to the clinic. Meanwhile in South Caicos, 95% of the houses were also damaged, with over one-third significantly damaged or destroyed. Damage also occurred on other islands, pockets of which were significant, but in general, damage was minor. After the eye of the storm passed over, it continued west at 15 mph (24 km/h) headed directly for eastern Cuba. Buildings on the islands have been severely weakened and 750 people have lost their homes. Due to the extent and magnitude of damage and affected population, the Government of the Turks and Caicos declared Grand Turk and South Caicos Islands disaster areas. Total damages in the Turks and Caicos Islands were estimated at $500 million.

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