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Hurricane Ike

Updated on June 3, 2015

Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike was the third most destructive hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States. 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 and a pressure of 935 mbars. 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 on September 7. Moving west along Cuba, it made 2 landfalls as a Category 4 hurricane on September 7 and a Category 1 hurricane on September 9. Ike made its final landfall over Galveston, Texas as a strong Category 2 hurricane, with Category 4 equivalent storm surge, on September 13, 2008 at 2:10 a.m. CDT. Hurricane-force winds extended 120 miles from the center.

Ike was blamed for at least 195 deaths. Of these, 74 were in Haii, 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 26 are still missing. Due to it's 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 US coastal and inland areas are estimated at $24 billion, with additional damage of $7.3 billion in Cuba, $200 million in the Bahamas, and $500 million in the Turks and Caicos, amounting to a total of $32 billion in damages. Ike was the third costliest Atlantic hurricane of all time, behind Hurricane Andrew of 1992 and Hurricane Katrina of 2005. The hurricane also resulted in the largest evacuation of Texans in that state's history. It also became the largest search and rescue operation in U.S. history.

100% of the royalties from this lens go to the International Rescue Committee.

Hurricane Preparedness Videos - Parts one, two and three.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Intensity Scale

The Saffir-Simpson Scale provides an indication of a hurricanes strength based primarily on wind speed. Other factors such as flooding and storm surge can be extremely dangerous.

Always listen to the information provided by your local Weather Service office or Emergency Management Officials.


One--- Winds 74-95 mph-- No real damage to building structures. Damage primarly to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage

Two--- Winds 96-110 mph-- Some roofing material, door, and window damage to buildings. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes, and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before arrival of center. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings.

Three--- Winds 111-130 mph-- Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 feet ASL may be flooded inland 8 miles or more.

Four--- Winds 131-155 mph-- More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof strucutre failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain continuously lower than 10 feet ASL may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas inland as far as 6 miles.

Five--- Winds greater than 155 mph-- Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 feet ASL and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5 to 10 miles of the shoreline may be required.

Deadliest Hurricanes to Strike the U. S.

Top five deadliest

1. Galveston, TX Hurricane - September 18, 1900

Estimated death toll: about 8000

2. Great Okeechobee Hurricane, Florida - September 16-17, 1928

Estimated death toll: 2500+

3. Chenier Caminada Hurricane - October 1, 1893

Estimated death toll: 2000+

4. "Sea Islands" Hurricane - August 27-28, 1893

Estimated death toll: 1000 - 2000

5. Hurricane Katrina - August 29, 2005

Estimated death toll: 1836+


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