I recall the moment when I first realized that Hurricane Katrina could be a major disaster: someone, possibly Atrios, had posted the National Hurricane Center's advisory, and it was flat-out terrifying. I thought of that when I read their most recent advisory for the Galveston area:
"NEIGHBORHOODS THAT ARE AFFECTED BY THE STORM SURGE...AND POSSIBLY ENTIRE COASTAL COMMUNITIES... WILL BE INUNDATED DURING THE PERIOD OF PEAK STORM TIDE. PERSONS NOT HEEDING EVACUATION ORDERS IN SINGLE FAMILY ONE OR TWO STORY HOMES MAY FACE CERTAIN DEATH. MANY RESIDENCES OF AVERAGE CONSTRUCTION DIRECTLY ON THE COAST WILL BE DESTROYED. WIDESPREAD AND DEVASTATING PERSONAL PROPERTY DAMAGE IS LIKELY ELSEWHERE. VEHICLES LEFT BEHIND WILL LIKELY BE SWEPT AWAY. NUMEROUS ROADS WILL BE SWAMPED...SOME MAY BE WASHED AWAY BY THE WATER. ENTIRE FLOOD PRONE COASTAL COMMUNITIES WILL BE CUTOFF. WATER LEVELS MAY EXCEED 9 FEET FOR MORE THAN A MILE INLAND. COASTAL RESIDENTS IN MULTI-STORY FACILITIES RISK BEING CUTOFF. CONDITIONS WILL BE WORSENED BY BATTERING WAVES CLOSER TO THE COAST. SUCH WAVES WILL EXACERBATE PROPERTY DAMAGE...WITH MASSIVE DESTRUCTION OF HOMES...INCLUDING THOSE OF BLOCK CONSTRUCTION. DAMAGE FROM BEACH EROSION COULD TAKE YEARS TO REPAIR."
To any readers in Ike's path: stay safe; my thoughts are with you. For the rest of us: here's an anticipatory link to the Red Cross.