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Hurricane Ike flirts with Category 3 status as it nears Galveston, Texas


It's going to be a long night for the people of coastal Texas.

As Hurricane Ike whips up the waters of the Gulf of Mexico on its way toward land, hurricane-force wind gusts have already been reported on Galveston Island, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm, which as of 10 p.m. Central Daylight Time was about 55 miles southeast of Galveston, is expected to make landfall near the city sometime around between 2 and 3 a.m. CDT.

The storm's sustained winds of 110 miles per hour make it a Category 2 hurricane, but another mile per hour would put it into Category 3.

The storm could cause flood surges of up to 25 feet. Earlier today, meteorologists warned residents of Galveston -- much of which is surrounded by a 17-foot-seawall -- told that any who remained in one- or two-story homes would face certain death. The Coast Guard abandoned efforts to rescue 22 crew members on the Cypriot freighter Antalina, about 90 miles off the coast of Galveston.

For more on hurricanes, see our in-depth report.

Ike projected 3-day path, by NOAA



The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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