Ike approaches, could become Cat 3 storm

Posted by Rachel Leigh email

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  • GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - A massive hurricane is already making its presence felt along the coasts of Texas and Lousiana. But Ike isn't expected to strike land until late Friday night or early Saturday, probably near Galveston.

    UPDATE, FRI 4 PM: The storm is now about 165 miles southeast of there, moving to the west-northwest at near 12 miles an hour. Forecasters say it could be a Category 3 storm with winds of at least 111 miles an hour before the eye comes ashore.

    Hurricane warnings are in effect over a 400-mile stretch of coastline.

    The storm is already sending white waves crashing over a seawall in Galveston. The National Weather Service warned residents of smaller structures there that they could face "certain death" if they ignored an order to evacuate. Most have complied.

    The storm's winds and waves initially kept the Coast Guard from trying to rescue 22 people on a freighter that broke down in the path of the storm. But by midday, the Coast Guard changed its mind and decided to attempt a rescue.

    UPDATE, FRI 10:30 AM: Hurricane Ike's maximum sustained winds have increased to near 105 miles per hour, keeping it a Category 2 storm for now.

    With the giant-size storm on the way, officials in Houston are telling people who decide to stay to hunker down, board up windows and stock up on drinking water and non-perishable food.

    Ike is forecast to make landfall early tomorrow southwest of Galveston, about 50 miles southeast of downtown Houston.

    The National Weather Service warns residents of Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula that those who ignore evacuation orders in single-family one- or two-story homes could "face certain death."

    Forecasters say the storm surge could be 20 feet high.

    (Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)