It may not look like much but this is our location where we are protected from the nasty gusts and stinging rain Ike is throwing at us. It was quite the trip to get over here.
We ran what was supposed to be a short distance to the parking garage at the back of the hotel. The wind made that short walk take what seemed like an eternity.
As I stayed low and forced my way through the winds I got to the garage and realized no one was behind me. I turned and saw Gary Tuchman helping one of our crew members, Lisa Britton as she was struggling through the wind.
My colleague Augie Martin and I made our way back to Gary and Lisa and we all made it to this spot in the parking garage where we are protected from winds to broadcast live.
Military search and rescue teams arrived today at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio to set up staging operations. Helicopters teams from the 331st Air Expeditionary Group following the storm will assist Texas officials search for people in trouble.
In preparation for their missions starting tomorrow, a command center was being wired at the last minute. The public affairs official took the media on a tour of the nerve center that was filled with electricians, IT specialists and radio controllers. Col Steve Kirkpatrick said the staff would work through the night to have a high tech headquarter ready by morning.
Water vapor imagery from NOAA GOES Satellite shows Ike intensifying near the Texas Coast.
CNN weather producer
Ike remains a strong category 2 hurricane … and could become a category 3 hurricane right before landfall. Hurricane-force wind gusts are now occurring on Galveston Island. Maximum sustained winds are currently 110 mph. An increase of 1 mph would make Ike a major category 3 hurricane.
Ike is moving toward the northwest at 12 mph, and is located about 55 miles south-southeast of Galveston, TX. Ike should make landfall along the Texas Coast between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. The National Hurricane Center urges people not to venture outside in the eye when it comes ashore. The strongest winds and highest surge will likely occur near or just after landfall.
Dangerous storm surge will occur at landfall. Storm surge along a few of the coastal bays could reach 25 feet or higher.
Ike is a very large hurricane. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 120 miles from the center. Tropical storm-force wind gusts extend outward 275 miles from the center.
Isolated tornadoes will be possible tonight in Texas and Louisiana as Ike moves northwestward.
Ike could produce isolated rainfall amounts of 15 inches or greater.
Intermediate advisories will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 12 a.m. CDT and 2 a.m. CDT followed by the next complete advisory at 4 a.m. CDT.
CNN Science and Tech producer
One moment, I'm merrily flipping through the cable channels, taking note of a dozen Houston anchors gravely reporting the latest movements of the storm.
Multitasking of course, perusing the online editions of local newspapers, occasionally taking a cellphone call. Then bang. Ike takes charge in Clute, Texas. Power's gone.
Gotta save the charge on my Blackberry for real emergencies, since hiking to the car 100 yards away to plug in could be death defying. Now there's only one channel.
The howling and whistling sounds are both terrifying and mesmerizing. It will be a long, eerie night, with Mother Nature in complete control.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/12/art.vert.rod.griola.jpg caption="CNN cameraman Rod Griola in Houston, Texas, waits for Ike to make landfall." width=292 height=320]
Waiting for the storm is an anxiety inducing event. One can image what people in the Houston and Galveston area are thinking right now with a massive, water-filled guest, named Ike, about to call. Outside our hotel in downtown Houston 2 bars are open, people are sitting outside having a drink. I can't say how they feel exactly but a beer seems to bring things down a notch.
For myself, waiting for IKE to do something here, in Houston, is uneasy. I'm a cameraman with CNN and so my assignment thus far has consisted of preparing supplies, being ready to work at a moments notice, and to shoot video when the storm gets to Houston.
At this moment it hasn't, so I wait. It is a nervous wait.
I keep myself busy with searching the storm path, over and over and over again. I search for where the flooding historically occurs in Houston. I find a weblink that shows where the watersheds are in Houston. I look at the maps. I sort of understand the maps.
Editor’s Note: The following is a first-person account by James McFadden, a NOAA official flying through Hurricane Ike to gain information on the storm. He shares this dispatch from their airplane:
James McFadden PhD
Chief of programs at the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center
Good evening from Hurricane Ike as it begins to make its way onshore in the Galveston, TX area.
We are aboard one of NOAA's two WP-3D Orions completing a series of seven consecutive missions at 12 hour intervals into Ike that began Tuesday afternoon and culminating with the flight of NOAA 42, also known as Kermit, this evening.
Hurricane Ike hitting Texas hard right now. Anderson is in Houston. We are live for two hours.
We’ll start posting comments to this blog at 10p ET and stop at midnight ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/12/art.ike.galveston.jpg caption="Police officer Hassan Mustafa, Jesse West, and Carl Reynolds wading through the storm surge in Galveston, Texas."]
Producer in Galveston, Texas
Rob Marciano and I just encountered fierce 8O+ mph winds on our walk through an open field around our hotel to the parking deck. We made it okay, but had to stop and keep our balance fighting Ike's wicked wind gusts whipping rain. When we finally got to the parking deck and caught our breath, Rob said: "Man, that felt like a tornado."
We will be back on the air shortly live from our BGAN – our digital satellite run through our mac book pro.
Its going to be a long, crazy night.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/12/ike9.12.post.jpg caption="A man clutches a brief case as he makes his way through high water created by hurricane Ike's storm surge in downtown Galveston, Texas" width=292 height=320]
It’s going to be a long night in the newsroom. With Hurricane Ike - now a colossal storm, almost as big as Texas itself - bearing down on the Texas coast, we’ve got a full team of producers and reporters in the field.
Anderson is in Houston. We’ve also got reporters in Galveston, Baytown, La Porte, Clute and Beaumont.
At this hour, Ike is just shy of a Category 3 storm. It’s already flooded Galveston’s western end with the worst still to come. Despite orders to evacuate, about 40 percent of the city’s more than 50,000 residents have stayed.
Now it’s too late to leave. About an hour ago, city officials said emergency crews were no longer able to help people. The window for safe evacuations has closed.
We’re keeping a close eye on a freighter stranded off the coast with 22 people aboard. Rescue crews were unable to reach them earlier today. They’ll have to ride out the storm at sea. We’ll have more on their plight in the program.
Ike will make up most but not all of our coverage.
Gov. Sarah Palin is also in the rundown. Earlier, ABC News released more of Charlie Gibson’s interview with the Republican vice presidential candidate. Our political panel will weigh in on what she said - and what she didn’t say.
Sorry for short post tonight. Lots to do before now and air time.
We’ll see you at 10 eastern.
It's 7:30 at night, the sun just set and the electricity just went out. Its going to be a long night of howling winds, driving rains and no sleep.
No one sleeps in a hurricane even if your shift is done. The roof rattles and the windows vibrate or blowout. The barometric pressure drops and the rain pours down in sheets of warm tropical saltwater.
We cover these storms a lot, but this one is different. This time, the local folks keep telling me to watch out for the snakes and alligators. "They surface when the flood waters rise." Yikes! I can stand the wind and the rain, but not a gator crawling around at night while we work.