Lots of detail here at Weather Underground about the storm surges and the expected damage. 149 Terajoules was the Integrated Kinetic Energy of the storm -it has actually fallen to 124 TJ now, but that is still more than Hurricane Katrina at landfall.
Shout out to Ubu Roi – stay safe man. Dunno where you live, but Highway 6 is a better route than the interstates, or Braeswood all the way out past the beltway/route 59 conjunction on the southwest side. UPDATE: Ubu has been hurricane-blogging extensively at Houblog. He’s way better prepared for this than 99% of the rest of the Houston metro.
I have to confess enormous relief at having moved away from the Gulf Coast over a year ago. Still, many many of my friends and family reside in Houston, including some in Galveston county, and for all of them I pray that this storm has as little effect as Hurricane Rita did. I still vividly remember the nightmare of our Hurricane Rita experience, and that was just the evacuation and city-wide shortages of gasoline, milk, eggs, etc for weeks afterwards. There wasn’t even any monster rainfall with Rita, though she was a Category 5. A few years earlier, though, Tropical Storm Allison turned Houston into a gigantic bayou, causing billions of dollars to infrastructure and buildings, and irreplaceable loss of research and data at the Medical Center. Hurricane Ike is more analogous to Allison than to Rita – the primary concern is a storm surge of 20 feet in the Galveston lowlands, and then area-wide severe flooding throughout Harris county. Unlike Rita, Ike hasn’t been deflected at the last minute, and given Ike’s far greater extent (500 miles wide!) even if Ike were to be deflected by the hand of God now, Houston would still get hit. East Texas is going to get wet – seriously.
I had chronicled our Rita experiences on my blog – it was a nightmare that I’d never want to live through again.