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Ike remembered; current hurricane season far different

Eight years have passed since Hurricane Ike struck near Galveston and caused destruction along the Texas coast.

The 2008 hurricane season was vastly different from the current 2016 Atlantic hurricane season as of September.

The year of Ike brought 16 named storms, eight of which were hurricanes and three of which affected the Golden Triangle area. Tropical Storm Edouard was a short-lived storm that made landfall between High Island and Sabine Pass on Aug. 5. Hurricane Gustav, at Category 2, made landfall Sept. 1 near Cocodrie, La.

Greg Fountain, Jefferson County Emergency Management Coordinator, recalled Gustav.

“At the time the National Weather Service in Lake Charles had said that a 2 degree change in course would have moved landfall from Louisiana to Texas,” Fountain said. This, he added, was the reason for the evacuation of the area at the time.

Then along came Ike.

The enormous storm formed on Sept. 1 and was quickly upgraded to a tropical storm, strengthened to hurricane force Sept. 3 making it a major hurricane, Kent Kuyper, meteorologist with the National Weather Service-Lake Charles said.

Ike made several landfalls on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

“Ike was one of the largest storms I’ve ever seen,” Kuyper said. “Size wise, it covered a large portion of the Gulf.”

Then, at 2:10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008, Ike made landfall near Galveston.

“Although Ike was a category 2, if you look back at places that received damage like Jefferson County, Jefferson County was on the side that received strong winds,” he said referring to the strongest side of the storm.

Fountain said though Ike was a category 2 it’s storm surge was that of a much stronger hurricane.

“Traditionally for every category, there is foot 5-tidal surge so for a category 2 that would be 10-foot storm surge,” Fountain said. “But the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale was not meant for tidal surge, just wind, and people always have done that.”

The storm surge, along with high waves, topped around 17-feet.

So far this hurricane season there have been nine named storms, three of which became hurricanes. Hermine, a category 1 storm, is the only one that made landfall in the states.

The latest named storm, Ian, came into being on Sept. 12 and is not expected to reach the mainland.