caption="Water blows over a roadway as the effects of Hurricane Ike are seen in Surfside Beach, Texas."]
Susan Candiotti | BIO
CNN National Correspondent
How do you explain why a father would think he could ride out a storm with his teenage children?
On the island called Surfside Beach, a father did just that. Police finally convinced him to get out and all three got on a couple of jet skis with their two dogs.
The dad didn't want to talk about it and sounded cavalier when I asked him why he waited til waves were chest high to get out. "The surf is great," he told me offhandedly.
About a dozen rescue workers risked their lives to get them out of harm's way. A police sargeant shook his head. "We beg 'em and beg 'em to leave and then they cry for help."
Go figure. How can a dad put his children's lives at risk?
Michael S. Gittelman
It seems it's always the same at these cataclysmic events; the poor folks suffer the most.
We talked with a woman today whose front yard filled with 2 ft of water in just the 20 minutes we were there. She has no place to go with her teenage children, so there they sit.
They are afraid to leave because of the pet snake, lizard, two scorpions, a tarantula, at least six dogs, and several cats. They seem to be in a state of denial, but the truth is they can't afford to leave town.
The rich folk always seem to fare better in these things. We didn't see anyone in the upper middle class neighborhoods staying around because of their pets. The fact is, a doctor we met was going to lock the dog in the pantry, while she and hubby went to her sister's place on higher ground!
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/12/art.noaaike.jpg caption="NOAA satellite image taken Friday, September 12, 2008 at 3:15 PM EDT shows clouds associated with Hurricane Ike just off the coast of Texas"]
CNN weather producer
Maximum sustained winds are now 110 mph with higher gusts. Ike is a strong category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. An increase of 1 mph would make Ike a major category 3 hurricane.
Ike is 97 miles southeast of Galveston moving NW at 13 mph.
The US Coast Guard, the US Air Force and countless TV news viewers around the country are following the drama of an 580-foot cargo ship floating in the path of Hurricane Ike, with no engine power to get to safety.
The Coast Guard and Air Force tried once to fly helicopters into the storm to save the 22 stranded mariners on board, but Ike’s fierce winds made that too dangerous for the would-be rescuers so they’ve turned around and landed waiting for another chance to save the crew.
Even if they succeed in saving the crew, 5 helicopters from the US Coast Guard and US Air Force won’t be able to save the ship. And what of its cargo, reportedly tons of petroleum coke, is this a potential environmental catastrophe?
“No, but it’s not good,” said Bill Hunker of the EPA’s Dallas office.
Petroleum coke is what’s left over when crude oil is refined into gasoline, diesel and other chemicals. It’s a solid, nearly pure carbon, similar to coal.
If the ship were to spill the coke, Hunker said, it would likely sink to the bottom, and stay there. The coke is not water soluble, so it wouldn’t dissolve in the Gulf waters. There would likely be no oil slick to poison fish or birds, nothing to wash up on to Texas’s fabled Gulf Coast beaches.
A bigger concern to the EPA is the diesel fuel that is powering the ship’s engines. But even if THAT leaked, the heavy storm-driven waves in the gulf would likely disperse the diesel before it got close to shore, Hunker said.
CNN weather producer
Ike remains a strong category 2 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, gusting to 125 mph. Residents along the coast of Texas and well inland should prepare for the impact of a category 3 hurricane at landfall. The latest SLOSH models from the National Hurricane Center indicate storm surges peaking at 31 feet along the coast of Chambers and Jefferson counties.
Now – tropical storm force winds along the Texas coast
3 a.m. – landfall, hurricane-force winds arrive in Houston
4 a.m. – category 2 maximum sustained winds possible in downtown Houston
4 a.m. – maximum storm surge along TX, LA coast
10 a.m. – storm surge waters begin to recede
The latest SLOSH model indicating the storm surge.
Editor's note: CNN iReporter George Holleran, a storm chaser, drove all the way from Panama City, Florida, to Galveston Island, Texas, where he captured incredible video. He shares what its like on the ground. (Is Ike affecting you? Send us your photos and video.)
This is the pier on Galveston Island. I stood on the seawall as the waves were breaking onto the road in front of it. Behind me, well below the seawall height are hundreds of homes. Many were occupied awaiting certain disaster.
This is a video of the other side of Galveston Island. The Bay side. As you can see these homes are already experiencing massive flooding. Video was taken at least 12 hours before the crest of the storm surge.
CNN.com ProducerRicky Mathews knows first-hand what it's like to ride out a catastrophic hurricane.
In August 2005, the publisher of Biloxi's Sun Herald newspaper, says he made "one of the worst decisions of his life" when he and his family stayed in their home to ride out Hurricane Katrina.
Today, as Hurricane Ike takes aim at the Texas coast, he's been up since 3 a.m. responding to emails and phone calls from people in Galveston, Texas, who read a powerful editorial and video he posted on the newspaper's Web site, SunHerald.com. In the article's title, he urges, "Galveston: Get Out!" FULL POST
Columnist San Diego Union-Tribune
On the excitement meter, the winning ticket is clear: Obama-Palin.
For months, Democrats have swooned over a political celebrity who doesn't fit the profile of past presidents.
Though a great communicator loaded with charisma, he has little Washington experience, as you might expect from an outsider who promises change. And because change frightens people, he brings out the naysayers, some of whom resort to racism to attack his character.
Now, Republicans are swooning over a political celebrity who doesn't fit the profile of past vice presidents. Though a great communicator loaded with charisma, she has little Washington experience, as you might expect from an outsider who promises change. And because change frightens people, she brings out the naysayers, some of whom resort to sexism to attack her character.
A new poll finds that Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are, for their respective tickets, to quote Reggie Jackson, the straw that stirs the drink. With most polls showing the race tied, it looks like half the country is rooting for Obama and the other half is rooting for Palin. Joe Biden and John McCain are just along for the ride.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found that, if Americans could cast separate votes for president and vice president, "Obama-Palin" would win. Palin would wallop Biden, 53 percent to 44 percent.
Obama would beat McCain, 49 percent to 48 percent, which falls within the poll's margin of error. Some will call this simply a case of Americans reacting positively to something new and different - in this case, an African-American seeking to become president, and a woman vying for vice president.
Personally, I think there is more to it. I think many Americans know enough to understand how difficult it was for a Barack Obama or a Sarah Palin to get this far. If they don't, they're learning every time their candidate gets muddied. And, because they see Obama and Palin as underdogs, they'd like to see him - or her - succeed.
This historic race has made Americans realize how tired they were of the white male monopoly on party tickets. In the history of this country, only once have we strayed from the model of two white males running on major party tickets. Geraldine Ferraro's vice presidential bid in 1984 is the sole exception.
Here is the monument to the 1900 Storm that is estimated to have killed between 8 and 12 thousand people in and around the city of Galveston. As you can see the tide waters are crashing in on what is a 17 foot Seawall. If predictions are correct, parts of this monument will be under water by the time hurricane Ike makes landfall.
Here is a picture of Gary reporting from Seawall Blvd. with cameraman Gregg Canes. Look at those waves! And the storm isn't even here yet...
The storm is coming, and everyone here knows it. Right now store owners are boarding up their windows, but you hardly see anyone on the street, and in downtown Houston there aren't many cars on the roads, just a few police cruisers slowly gliding by.
We've been trying to decide where we should locate ourselves to cover the storm. Normally, we'd go to Galveston, but we are going to need to stay on the air all during the storm to anchor 360 tonight.
If we are in Galveston, it's likely we'd be knocked off the air by the storm at a certain point, so we are thinking of staying in Houston, or moving just a bit further south. Gary Tuchman will be in Galveston and we have correspondents fanned out in spots all around the coast.