Hurricane Ike was a storm that had significant impact over a wide area of the Caribbean and the US. While categorized as a Category 2 storm when it made landfall in Galveston, its size, timing, duration and the associated coastal surge had the impact of a much greater storm. Hurricane Ike formed September 1 st, 2008 and dissipated on September 16th, 2008. Highest sustained winds were reported to be 145 mph prior to landfall at Galveston. The eye of Ike passed over UTMB in the early morning hours of Saturday September 13th, at which time the severe flooding across virtually all of the campus was recognized. While wind speeds were diminished to Category 2 force at landfall in Galveston, the size of the storm stretched those winds over a 510 miles area, much larger than the size typically associated with a Category 2 storm. The result was a significant storm surge and a much longer period of wind and surge impact as compared to other Category 2 storms that have hit the Texas Coast. Just before landfall and at landfall, Ike's winds ranged from 92-110 mph based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/NWS Galveston's report. The eye of the storm made landfall in Galveston at approximately 02:10, about 2 hours before the morning high tide. The combination of surge and tide resulted in a storm surge typically associated with a Category 4 hurricane. Ongoing studies on storm surge, predict that the maximum surge expected from a hurricane at Galveston is 19 feet at the shoreline. While official reports show a 7 feet surge at the east end of Galveston Island. The back wash wave resulting from release of the surge being pushed up into Galveston Bay as the eye of the storm passed over, resulted in a wave of water from the north pushed by the shifting winds that rose in excess of 14 feet in certain areas of the UTMB campus. The variation in high water elevations experienced, are thought to be due to the characteristics of the path traveled and the strong wind gusts. In some cases the movement of the water into a building wall was accelerated by strong winds pushing the water to elevations higher than the general surge.
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