Ike Forecast: Most Likely Target Is Texas
Hurricane Ike seems to most likely be heading for the Texas Gulf coast, Kyle Peveto and Blair Dedrick Ortmann of the Beaumont (Texas) Enterprise are writing for Tuesday’s paper.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has already declared the state a disaster area in order to start the deployment of resources to the 88 counties that might be affected by the storm.
The National Hurricane Center said at 11 p.m. Eastern Monday that the center of the hurricane was near latitude 21.8 north and longitude 89.8 west, or about 20 miles southeast of Playa Giron on the southern coast of west-central Cuba, and about 140 miles southeast of Havana.
Ike is moving west-northwest near 13 mph. It should enter the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. Maximum sustained winds are about 80 mph, making the storm a category 1. The minimum central pressure is 967 mb. The storm is expected to gain strength as it enters the Gulf.
Reuters reported Monday night that state-run Cuban media says eastern portions of the island have experienced widespread damage, including toppled trees, destroyed homes, downed power lines and flooded towns. The area had up to 10 inches of rain, flooding and a surging sea.
The wire service also reported that Cuban television said four people died, including two men who were electrocuted when they tried to take down an antenna that fell into an electric line, a woman who was killed when her house collapsed and a man who was crushed when a tree blew over onto his home.
Brian K. Sullivan and Camilla Hall of Bloomberg reported Monday night that personnel from 10 rigs and 202 production platforms in the Gulf have been evacuated, the Minerals Management Service said yesterday on its Web site. There are about 717 manned production platforms in the Gulf. The report said the price of crude oil for October delivery dropped 60 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $105.63 a barrel as of 12 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 38 percent from a year ago.