Hurricane Ike led to largest search-and-rescue operation Texas history

On this day in weather history, Hurricane Ike hit Texas.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


Hurricane Ike was a Category 4 storm that battered areas of the Caribbean, United States, and Canada. On September 1, 2008, Ike was officially a tropical depression in the Cape Verde Islands. By Sep. 4, Ike peaked as a Category 4 storm, with winds as high as 233 km/h.

Ike swept across the Caribbean, killing 74 people in Haiti. By early Sep. 13, the storm reached Texas as a Category 2 hurricane. At 2:10 a.m. Ike made landfall on Galveston Island. An aggressive storm surge travelled along the east side of Houston.

After Hurricane Ike in Texas

"A US-Air Force Staff Sergeant receives a hug from a resident after Hurricane Ike, September 13, 2008." Courtesy of Wikipedia

In the Galveston-Houston area, people were warned that they needed to evacuate from low-lying living areas or they would face "certain death." Almost 16,000 families in the area stayed in pop-up shelters.

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Once the storm hit, downtown Galveston was drowning in floodwaters as high as 2 metres. Buildings in the area received extensive flood damage, including the Galveston County Courthouse, the University of Texas Medical Branch, and the main hospital in Galveston county.

Destroyed school in Port-Au-Prince

"The remains of a school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on September 15, 2008." Courtesy of Wikipedia

In Houston, Ike broke windows from the 75-story JP Morgan Chase Tower. The storm also knocked out power in the area, leaving people in the dark for over a month.

In Bolivar Peninsula, Texas, floodwaters reached 3.7 m — dozens of people needed to be rescued. The storm destroyed around 80 per cent of homes in the peninsula. Ike killed 113 people in Texas.

The search-and-rescue efforts after Ike was the largest in Texas history.

Caribbean winter 2008 2009 2 969

"Numerous hurricane-damaged houses, buildings, and structures were still to be found in early January 2009 on Grand Turk." Courtesy of Wikipedia

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The next day, Ike's remnants unleashed 75.2 millimetres of rain on Windsor, Ont., breaking the daily rain record.

Ike is the sixth costliest storm in the U.S., causing $30 billion worth of damage.

To learn more about Hurricane Ike, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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