Saturday, September 13, 2008

Millions lose power as Ike hits Texas

Hurricane Ike has made landfall in Texas as a category 2 storm. Although it is not as powerful as predicted by meteorologists there are still strong winds of around 177 km/h [110 mph] with gusts of more than 209 km/h [130 mph]. Tens of thousands of residents evacuated from the area around Houston. However it has been estimated that up to 40% of residents ignored warnings and stayed behind. Already 3 deaths have been reported and there is widespread flooding in many places around Galveston where the hurricane made landfall at 07:10 GMT [02:10 CDT local time].
Several hours of storm conditions are expected and Houston is already seeing significant damage. Power outages have already left more than 4 million without electricity in Texas. The effect on the oil industry has forced up prices at the pump. Even before the storm motorists were complaining at increased prices. One described how he had sat in the queue waiting for fuel as the price increased from $3.69 to $4.00 per gallon [£0.55 to £0.59 per litre] in less than 15 minutes. The price in some parts of Texas has already exceeded $5.49 [£0.82].
CNN International provided extensive coverage via its sister network CNN-US though normal programming resumed at 10:34 GMT [05:34 CDT]. Both Sky News and the BBC have provided only a few minutes coverage of the storm as they concentrate on the continuing travel chaos resulting from the collapse of the travel company [BBC]. Any holiday-makers stuck in Texas will be unable to fly anywhere as all flights have been grounded and travel disruption is expected in the coming hours as tornadoes form in the wake of the storm.

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