Ike will likely reach major hurricane status by the time it makes landfall late today or early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reports. Due to the relatively large size of the storm, the weather is expected to deteriorate on coastal areas throughout the day today. The NCH predicts coastal storm surge flooding up to 20 feet above normal tide levels.
"Landfall is less than 24 hours away but additional strengthening could still occur and it still may attain Category 3 status," The Weather Channel reported this morning. "That being said, the impacts from a high end Category 2 and a low end Category 3 are nearly identical."
Those impacts will be magnified by the storm's timing to high tide, resulting in a storm surge that could reach 25 feet at the heads of coastal bays, according to multiple sources. Landfall is likely to be between the Freeport-Lake Jackson area to Galveston, according to the Weather Channel. "A strike in this portion of the Texas coast will provide dangerous, perhaps life-threatening impacts."
While a great deal of the destruction caused by Ike is likely to be flood-related, the sheer size of the storm may cause wind-related insurance losses over a wider area. Ike's other economic effects include reduced refinery production, as 19 percent of the United States refining capacity is expected to be closed down before landfall, according to a Bloomberg report.
Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio