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September 16, 2008

Ike was awful, but it could have been worse

Posted: 04:08 PM ET

Ike roared through Texas, making landfall at the high end of Category Two on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Less than 24 hours earlier, forecasters thought it might come in as a Cat Four storm.

The highest measurements of Ike's storm surge topped out at about 15 feet (although some un-measured areas may have been higher). Forecasters warned it might be twice that in some areas.

Most of the homes in the first photo are gone, in this image taken after Ike departed.

Most of the homes in the first photo are gone, in this image taken after Ike departed.

A USGS photo of homes on the Bolivar Peninsula, taken four days before Ike's arrival.

A USGS photo of homes on the Bolivar Peninsula, taken four days before Ike

And a much-discussed National Weather Service bulletin, issued from Houston a day before landfall, warned of "certain death" for those who failed to evacuate the most vulnerable areas. While the death toll may rise as recovery teams move through the devastated beach towns, it's still surprisingly low given what could have been.

It's small comfort to those who have lost loved ones, or homes, or those who may not see their power turned back on for a month - and those whose lives may never be the same again. But like Katrina - which was a Category Three storm that missed a direct hit on New Orleans - Ike could have been a lot worse.

Either way, we're a little over halfway through the Atlantic hurricane season. Let's hope Ike is the worst we see all year.

–Peter Dykstra Executive Producer CNN Science, Tech, & Weather

Filed under: hurricanes


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