September 11th, 2008
10:05 PM ET

Weather Service to residents: Leave, or face "certain death"

Gary Tuchman
AC360 Correspondent

We're on Galveston Island just southeast of Houston which will be a very poor place to be Friday night.

Hurricane Ike is on the way, and the national weather service has released the most dire statement I have ever seen in my career.

"Life threatening inundation likely!" according to the weather service, and then this startling sentence.

"Persons not heeding evacuation orders in single family one or two story homes will face certain death."

The weather service is not supposed to use hyperbole, so what is being said at this hour is chilling.

Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Hurricane Ike
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Kathy

    Good reply, Pete, to Chase. By now, Chase, I hope you are still okay. Half of Galveston was under water before the storm was even close. With headlines like that, I would have been gone in a NY minute!

    September 13, 2008 at 8:32 am |
  2. Linda

    I have always liked your broadcasts but I have to say that I find it pretty inappropritate to deliver broadcasts with total bravado from areas that people have been advised to flee ...when they see that you are doing ok then why should they leave? that sends a dangerous message . People then that that if you're Ok then they would be also. That is jouralism bravado that could cost lives. Is that the right message when you're dealing with life and death? The story vs lives? That smacks of sensational jouralisn at its worst.. Report the news and don't stand there if 100 miles an hour winds like s it OK. We expect better than that from you.

    September 13, 2008 at 3:55 am |
  3. Mary Esther Salinas

    Praying for Houston and Galveston from Corpus Christi, Texas. I have my window open and watching this on CNN is spooky. Ike spared us but another one will always come. This is life on the coast and every end of summer i dread the countdown till winter (end of Hurricane season).

    September 13, 2008 at 1:56 am |
  4. Jon Magistri

    Anderson Cooper, Is it possible that during the eye of the Hurricane the is suppose to last over Galveston for about 1 hour and half to 2 hours. Would that be enough time to try and get some of those people that have called for help? I have been watching cnn all night since about 5pm est time. My thoughts and prayers are out to all of them. I remember earlier in the night I heard a family saying that he and his family where staying with kids and neighbors.

    September 13, 2008 at 1:52 am |
  5. tim barnes

    the worst will come with the rising tide which begins now

    September 13, 2008 at 1:47 am |
  6. jennifer

    I heard that around 10k people have chose to stay through all this, only thing is when this is over and when it causes all those peoples lifes that stayed who will be the blame for them not leaving and dying? I wish everyone well however i dont feel sorry for those who chose to ride it out.

    September 13, 2008 at 1:30 am |
  7. Luis

    You have to help yourself to start with, and not just expect that someone else will come get you out of trouble all the time....that apply to anybody from Galveston and Ike to Lehman brothers and the economic crisis...is not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. History is there lets learn from it.

    September 12, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  8. Martina Ilstad Germany

    Hey Gary
    i watch you fom germany.jou do a verry good job,verry dangeros,so please take care.all i can do,is pray for you and the cnn team .god bless you

    September 12, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  9. Elena A. Masen

    Louis, that is rude. It is a person's choice to stay or go...do not tell them to pay. Personally, I'm worried for what's happening and will be happening. This statement IS chilling...

    September 12, 2008 at 6:49 pm |
  10. Louis Pagan

    Those residents that refuse to evacuate after such severe warning and need to be rescued should pay the cost of the rescue per person.

    September 12, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  11. Marcy

    They aren't covering around the clock yet because there is nothing to cover. You should watch CNN more often cause they have been reporting from the area throughout the last few days. As for Rita, they were there then too. I don't see where you are from, but I’m in Mobile and I can tell you that there's a time to run, a time to sit still, and a time to talk about the storm and a time to get out of the way and let people do what they need to do. You watch CNN and you'll see they will stay with the story until the story is done, that's why i love CNN and why CNN is my network for news. No I don't work for CNN but if they want to pull my resume that would be great!

    Marcy, Mobile, AL

    September 12, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  12. James McGill

    Not everybody can claim to be an "Olympic Sailor". Good grief, because you can weather a storm (and I believe I could survive as well), does not mean you can dismiss the need for many to evacuate. There are people who panic in a crisis situation and who would no doubt turn a survivable incident into death. And there are people who barely can survive in the best circumstances.

    I wonder about this "36 hours in a traffic jam" story. That's nuts. After about 5 hours I would have ditched the vehicle and evacuated on my bike, if not on foot. If I started walking from Houston, I'm sure 36 hours later I'd be at least as far as Albuquerque, if not Seattle.

    But then I don't see what's so damned hard about it in the first place.

    September 12, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  13. Lorraine, Vinita, OK

    With the video I'm now seeing, I wonder what Chase's thoughts are now??

    September 12, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  14. Misty

    your kidding me right Janice, I mean, yes Ike is important and we do need to know about the storm and we do need to be warned, coverage yes, but come on...September 11th was one of the worst days in world history, you think they shouldn't report on it. Thousands died at the hand of other people that day. What we knew as a world changed completely. We have remembrance day for veterans and we have September 11th, for the innocent...Not reporting on that, not covering the day, the memorials, the service, that would be a terrible dis-service to those that died, those that gave their lives trying to save others, and to those that are fighting the war today.

    September 12, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  15. Orihac

    Chase, you poor misinformed soul. It's the shallowness of the bay that WILL make the waves and storm surge so much worse. Waves crest and break in shallow water, not out in the depths of the sea.

    Good luck and make sure your will and other paperwork are in good order so your family doesn't have to be hassled by much more than your memorial service.

    September 12, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  16. Dana Stewart Tanner AL U.S.A.

    To all CNN reporters: Please take the Weather Service bulletin at heart. Please use your best judgement in covering this hurricane.

    May God Bless You and Keep You Safe,

    Dana Stewart
    Tanner, Alabama

    September 12, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  17. Danielle, NY

    Chase, please heed the warnings you are hearing. I went through Hurricane Gloria on Long Island when I was 6 years old and still remember it clear as day. Our home was a little bit inland, and we had a bay and barrier island between us and the ocean (so you think we'd be okay). We left before the storm hit to my grandparents' house further inland, and we were so glad we did. Our neighborhood was flooded and we lost a bunch of stuff. Any homes on the barrier islands were completely destroyed or damn near close to it. Being on a barrier island yourself, you are much much much closer to what's going on and your area is going to be devastated. I understand that your grandmother lived through the 1900 storm, but remember 1,600 people didn't, and Mother Nature doesn't choose one family over another.

    Anyone still there, please do you and your family a favor and leave now before it gets any worse.

    September 12, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  18. Jason

    Good luck Chase. This one seems like a doozy!

    September 12, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  19. GMG

    Hey Chase...how's the fishing now?

    September 12, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  20. Trudy in Peoria

    Certain death will come swiftly to anyone still driving down Seawall Blvd. or staying in their homes in Surfside, TX. It is really really bad now. Anyone staying behind is a fool for not heeding the warnings. Ike is 100 miles away and look how bad it is pummeling Galveston. I am sure we will all hear, "I never thought it would be this bad." in the coming days.

    September 12, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  21. mark hoffman, Phoenix AZ.

    I hope Chase has his affairs in order. I also hope no taxpayer dollars are expended on his behalf looking for his body. It's bad enough that my tax dollars are going to repair the homes and businesses of people who so obviously have made a poor choice of where they live. I can't imagine living anywhere where at any given moment-and on a moments notice-you would have to leave everything behind. That's insane.

    September 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  22. Nichole

    Chase, it's Friday afternoon now. It hasn't begun to rain and it looks like Galveston is already getting flooded from the waves. Are you stll trying to stay? Are you in a 2 or 3 story house? My prayers are with the people of Texas. But I think it would have been more wise to evacuate.

    September 12, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  23. leigh

    It's not worth your life to prove the weather service wrong. I'm on the east coast and if was barreling our way we would be gone. You can replace anything you lose, but you can't replace your life and it's just not worth becoming a sitting a duck. If it's not as bad as they predict then great you win, but if it is and you stay then you lose.

    September 12, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  24. Greg

    I certainly hope that all of you who have chosen to stay in Galveston have done just one thing–given contact info to emergency personnel for next of kin.

    September 12, 2008 at 1:01 pm |
  25. Chris

    Chase, don't be stupid. Waves form when the water gets shallow – they get higher as the water gets shallower. Why risk it – your house will be uninhabitable real quick, and there won't be anywhere else to go.

    September 12, 2008 at 12:38 pm |
  26. Joshua Manuel

    In response to Chase, the fact that Galveston Bay is so shallow is the exact reason why these waves can reach such a height of 20+ feet. The shallow water acts as a magnifier of the wave because of the energy that the wave has in it. It is similar to the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia where a wave traveling at a hyper speed hits shallow water it will create a very large wave. I am an ex-Navy sailor who professionally dealt with hurricane routing, and I would say go sir! Look it up and then evacuate! If not, may God bless you.

    September 12, 2008 at 12:23 pm |
  27. DeNada de Tejas

    The tricky thing about these storms is the unkown factors...the day(s) just before, everything is fine – I was just at Galveston Beach recently and even yesterday the weather there was nice. This is a scary storm – I live in north Houston (woodlands) but even we are concerned about the effects...

    I'm pleased to see AC and the crew here this weekend, misery loves company! Thanks for sticking it out with the rest of us stuck here.

    September 12, 2008 at 11:56 am |
  28. RS


    Wow..I sure hope you are right, for your sake. I wasn't aware that experience as a junior Olympic sailor made you a qualified hurricane expert. By the way, Galveston is already flooding, 12 hours before the projected landfall.........

    September 12, 2008 at 11:49 am |
  29. Jeff


    That bay is going to get alot deeper. Hopefully you have left by now.

    September 12, 2008 at 11:44 am |
  30. Isha

    I would urge Anderson, not to drive to galveston, seeing that the only real route out of the island is I-45. Parts of 61st street are becoming flooded so it's becoming increasingly difficult to drive out of the island. It would be better to do the show from neighboring areas in the mainland. I would recommend Clearlake, along NASA rd 1, is one, which also has several tall buildings. Also, it's pretty easy to access
    I-45N from there, if there comes a need to move away from the storm.
    Take care and stay safe,
    -AC360 viewer.

    September 12, 2008 at 11:31 am |
  31. Mike

    Another of your articles reports that 37,000 people may need rescuing. Imagine that!! Once again the government (local, State, Federal) will have to foot the bill to take care of people who make bad decisions. What a surprise!! It's all well and good that the government is so willing to help those in need, but it seems to me that the line must be drawn when those who make bad decisions after being warned of approaching danger are those that the government has to rescue. Hope they get a bill, and get their wages garnished to pay for it.

    September 12, 2008 at 11:28 am |
  32. joseph

    the news entertainment people arent there because there arent as many victims in Texas as there are in NOLA. To anyone staying behind, GOOD LUCK. Certain Death is just to boost their pathetic ratings.

    September 12, 2008 at 11:07 am |
  33. ron

    we need help here in Houma,La We pay taxes and the gov. isn't doing thier job.

    September 12, 2008 at 11:05 am |
  34. Mike

    Good luck Chase. You may not be with us tommorrow, hopefully you have let your wife or kids leave the area.

    September 12, 2008 at 11:03 am |
  35. c

    @ CHASE..
    I just had to comment to you...
    80' from the water??
    Better to be safe than sorry..Leaving sounds like very sound advice..

    September 12, 2008 at 11:02 am |
  36. Concerned

    Chase, I hope for your sake, your right. But what if your wrong? Is it worth it...

    September 12, 2008 at 11:00 am |
  37. GMG

    CNN has breaking news that the coast guard is already having to rescue people and their pets from Bolivar Penninsula. I wonder how long it will be before the idiot "diehards" of Galveston are crying "Uncle" and expecting everybody to drop everything and come rescue them. Personally, I have absolutely no sympathy for anyone who was warned to evacaute and chose not to. Let them fend for themselves. Taxpayers' dollars will be better spent elsewhere than on rescuing those who didn't listen.

    September 12, 2008 at 10:59 am |
  38. Shari A

    Well, Chase, hope you fare well but I think you are making a mistake. Just remember, don't call anyone for help when you are stranded on your roof (if there is one left). There won't be anyone around to rescue you– you will have to figure that one out for yourself. All I know is if you can look at the radar and think this is "just another storm" you need your head examined. Sheer size alone makes this thing ominous and if you want to take your life in your hands and chance it, go ahead. Just don't say you weren't warned and don't blame anyone but yourself if you get in trouble. If you wait to see what this thing brings, as you say, it will be too late.

    September 12, 2008 at 10:59 am |
  39. Michelle

    Chase: I seriously hope you are kidding when you say, your house is a mere 80 feet from the water and your staying. I live in Naples, FL 4 miles from the beach and I can tell you I have been thru Charley, Wilma, Etc...If Ike was coming at us the way it is you...I"D BEEN OUTTA THERE IN A HEARTBEAT! And I have never evacuated due to a Hurricane. However, this is a storm that is MASSIVE and 80 feet from water? You will be swimming with the fishes.You are really writing your own death certificate if you do not heed the warnings and leave. You can not gauge past events and then say "Well we survived that, so we'll be fine this time". Material possesions are replaceable, your life however is not. Not only that, but if you should survive, NO ONE will be able to aid you for weeks. Staying is not brave..staying is playing Russian Roulette with your life. Best of luck to you and I hope you make it thru unscathed.

    September 12, 2008 at 10:55 am |
  40. joel

    Chase – leave. The National Weather Service (or whatever it was called in 1900) did not call for an evacuation in that hurricane because they thought the bay was TOO SHALLOW for much of a storm surge. They didn't understand that because of the shallow bay, the water had nowhere to go but up!

    September 12, 2008 at 10:50 am |
  41. Pete

    Chase: you hear that? It's Charles Darwin, laughing. At you.

    September 12, 2008 at 10:47 am |
  42. Joe

    I am shocked that Ike isn't getting the coverage it deserves. Various areas of the Northern Gulf Coast have been experiencing flooding for 2 days now from the storm surge while Ike was still in the middle of the GOM. Buoy 42001, which Ike went over, is experiencing 23ft+ seas and where do you think the water is going to go?

    This is going to rival Katrina...maybe not in wind strength, but in storm surge and deaths.

    September 12, 2008 at 10:43 am |
  43. don antonio

    A word to the wise is sufficient... Key word is "Wise"

    September 12, 2008 at 10:38 am |
  44. Mike

    I just read that CNN had purchased some remote contol, battery operated cameras to record storms WITHOUT putting reporters in harms way. Smart. Then I read Gary Tuchman's post. I get the impression that he will be staying where he is on Galveston. Yup. Folks like these give other folks the impression that they can "ride it out". And they die. Makes a person wonder if their health and life insurance carriers know they intentionally put their lives in danger. And they expect the Coast Guard to come save them when the weather gets too violent for them. Hey, look!!! Tuchman won't be alone!! Chase will be there to keep him company!

    September 12, 2008 at 10:37 am |
  45. daren

    Hey CNN since the outer band's of Ike are cauing rain in Louisiana will you start giving this storm the same coverage you gave that glorified Tropical Storm that hit New Orleans a week ago? You sit back on your liber a– and watch how Texans handle a major storm. We can and will take care of our own.

    September 12, 2008 at 10:35 am |
  46. Bon Smith

    Galveston was hit on September 8, 1900, with a hurricane that still stands as the greatest natural disaster in American history–more than 6000 people killed.

    The book, "Isaac's Storm" by Erik Larsen, publ. by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, has the full, fascinating story.

    My grandmother, living in Galveston at the time, survived the storm. Good thing–otherwise I wouldn't be here to write this.!

    September 12, 2008 at 10:28 am |
  47. Carol, Roswell, GA

    With "certain death" for staying in Galvaston, what is CNN doing with Rob Marciano and his camera men? What are the other stations doing with their people?

    September 12, 2008 at 10:27 am |
  48. Colleen M., Duluth, Mn.

    I certainly hope things are a lot better organized than in '05.."certain death" are the most chilling words I've ever heard from the Weather Service. Blizzards here are nothing by comparison.

    September 11, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  49. Chase

    It's 9:11 here on Galveston Bay. My house sits 80 feet from the water. The wind is light, the waves are calm and the fishing is good. Many of my freinds and neighbor have decided to stay as have I. My great grandmother survived on Bolivar Island in the 1900 storm, and as a junior olympic sailor this one doe's not worry me. One thing CNN and other new's stations are overlooking is how shallow all the bay is. The area is to shallow for waves as big as your predicting. I have lived here my whole life and have gone swimming n the last couple tropical storms. Let's see what this thing can bring before we make a decision to get out of here.

    September 11, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  50. Janice Van Dyke Walden

    Shame on you CNN! Where are you? With chilling words like this from Gary Tuchman why aren't you covering us in depth and around the clock like you did two weeks ago in New Orleans and three years ago in New Orleans? Where were you during Rita which shook us to the core and gave us a reality check we won't forget?

    We won't forget 9/11 – but you are dwelling on the past tonight while this storm looms before us and certain death for our people is near.

    September 11, 2008 at 10:18 pm |
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