A Category Two hurricane, which is threatening to be one of the most destructive storms ever to hit the US, has made landfall at Galveston on the coast of Texas. The leading edge of Hurricane Ike has already sent more than a million residents fleeing to safety and left 1.3-million homes without power.
The storm forced a six metre high tidal surge into sea defences protecting Galveston. And it is menacing Houston, the fourth biggest city in the United States. Forecasters say the storm is roughly the size of Texas, the state it is threatening to engulf with winds of 175 kilometres per hour.
Those who took heed of evacuation orders headed inland to spend the night in special shelters. Those who ignored the mandatory order to get out found their calls to be rescued went unanswered. Emergency teams have themselves been ordered off the streets till the storm subsides.
17 Texas oil-refineries have been shut, accounting for more than 20 per cent of America’s total refining capacity. Forecasters say it could be the third most destructive US storm ever, behind Hurricane Katrina three years ago, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992.