COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF UP TO 20 FEET…WITH NEAR 25 FEET IN SOME AREAS…ABOVE NORMAL TIDES ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES…CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER OF IKE MAKES LANDFALL. THE SURGE EXTENDS A GREATER THAN USUAL DISTANCE FROM THE CENTER DUE TO THE LARGE SIZE OF THE CYCLONE. WATER LEVELS HAVE ALREADY INCREASED TO 9 TO 12 FEET ABOVE NORMAL ALONG MUCH OF THE NORTHWESTERN GULF COAST. I have been watching Geraldo on Fox News. He doesn’t know a lot about hurricanes–he seemed to think it was good that the eye wall came along at the same time as high tide, when in fact that adds to the storm surge–but it has been interesting to see him brandish big chunks of the road atop the seawall that have come loose in the storm. That must be the result of wave action, although we cannot see any waves crashing in the darkness behind him. What was really scary was the video from LaPorte, where Galveston Bay kept sending in one wave after another, not high, not powerful, just relentless. The water had crept in around a lone palm tree, and you could see the water level rise up the trunk. I wonder what is happening on the east end of Galveston Island. This is an area where land is accreting. Longshore currents take the sand up the coast from eroding West Beach until it hits the south jetty. Then it settles into the shallows and causes the island to grow in a seaward direction. All this is taking place hundreds of yards in front of the seawall. Two large new condos have been built here down on the beach, as well as a resort named Beachtown. Here is the latest information at 2 a.m. At 200 am CDT…0700z…the center of Hurricane Ike was located near latitude 29.2 north…longitude 94.7 west or about 10 miles… 15 km…southeast of Galveston Texas and about 60 miles…100 km…southwest of Port Arthur Texas. Ike is moving toward the northwest near 10 mph…16 km/hr. A northwest to north-northwestward motion is forecast to continue this morning…with a turn toward the north expected Saturday afternoon. The center of Ike should cross the Texas coast near Galveston in the next hour or two…then move over southeastern Texas the remainder of Saturday morning. * * * At 10 mph Ike is an hour from landfall, which should take place around 3 a.m. By that time the tide would be reaching its peak. This is not good timing. High tide at the Pleasure Pier (25th Street at Seawall Boulevard) is 3:32 a.m. If Ike moves to the north-northwest, the effects of the surge on Galveston and the Galveston Bay area might be less than in the case of a direct hit. I’m rooting for it.