| Ike's trail of destruction stretches into Midwest
| Monday, September 15, 2008
|GALVESTON, Texas (CNN) -- The remnants of Hurricane Ike moved into Canada early Monday after the storm left a trail of destruction from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes.
Hurricane-force winds from the storm, blamed for at least 15 deaths, were felt as far north as Kentucky and heavy rains flooded streets in Chicago.
On the Texas Gulf Coast, rescue crews continued to look for the estimated 20,000 residents who dismissed evacuation orders and tried to ride out the Category 2 hurricane's massive storm surge and 110-mph winds.
Among them were Paul and Kathi Norton, who overslept as Ike closed in on their home. They decided to tough it out because their evacuation route was flooded.
Though their Crystal Beach home, about 20 miles northeast of Galveston, was on 14-foot stilts, the couple was concerned, they told CNN affiliate KHOU-TV in Houston. Watch how one coastal community was leveled »
"My husband made me wear a life jacket inside our house," Kathi Norton said. "Thank God for that, or I couldn't be here."
They escaped floating on a staircase.
iReporter George Ramirez, of Seabrook, about 20 miles northwest of Galveston, said he will evacuate for the next hurricane after watching boats float down the middle of his apartment complex Saturday.
"It was 12-foot swells coming over a balcony," Ramirez said. "It was scary. I'll never do it again. It was really bad."
Nearly 2,000 people who did not evacuate for Hurricane Ike have been rescued along the southeastern Texas coast, said Steve McCraw, director of Texas Homeland Security.
On Sunday, a Galveston County sheriff's official said three bodies were pulled from storm wreckage in Port Bolivar, bringing to 10 the number of reported deaths in Texas linked to Ike.
Another storm death was reported in Arkansas, where wind knocked down a tree, killing a man inside a trailer home.
Louisiana Chief Medical Officer Louis Cataldie confirmed four deaths as a result of the Ike -- two in Terrebonne Parish and two in Jefferson Davis Paris.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said rescue missions remained the top priority for his agency.
The storm had broken apart by Sunday evening into a low pressure area that delivered rain and high wind from Texas northward into the lower Ohio River Valley, according to the National Weather Service.
Wind gusts as high as 74 mph ripped the roof off a Delta Airlines hangar at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, according to an Associated Press report. The airport's control tower had to be evacuated during the worst of the storm, AP said.
Winds also felled a tree onto Interstate 71 in Louisville, Kentucky, backing up traffic for miles Sunday. Some drivers left their cars to walk around the obstacle, according to CNN affiliate WLKY-TV.
On Interstate 64 in Kentucky, Paul Bowman is lucky to be alive after a tree plowed right through the windshield of his car, shattering the glass, WLKY reported.
"I was just cruising down the interstate during a bunch of traffic and all of a sudden, I see this tree coming across the guardrail and it just headed right for my windshield," Bowman told the station.
More than 340,000 Louisville Gas and Electric customers were without power Monday morning, WLKY reported.
Across the region, more than 1.3 million people were without power, AP reported.
"Over 90 percent of our customers are without service," Kathy Meinke of Duke Energy, which serves southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky, told AP.
Chicago authorities asked Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to issue a disaster declaration after rainfall Saturday in the Windy City broke a single-day record that had stood for more than two decades.
The deluge flooded streets and stranded residents in their homes.
More than 5,000 people were evacuated because of flooding in Munster, Indiana, according an AP report.
"We've never had flooding like this," Tom DeGiulio was quoted as saying.
The storm managed to flood parts of suburban St. Louis, Missouri, including the Brentwood neighborhood. The weather service reported at least 4 inches of rain fell on the area.
The rain started early Sunday morning, and "It just poured, said iReporter Jackie Hartlage, a Brentwood resident.
Kishwaukee River waters were rising overnight in Sycamore, Illinois, forcing dozens of mobile home residents from their homes, CNN affiliate WIFR-TV reported.
But one resident said his troubles were minor compared to those on the Texas coast.
"Nobody came in with a helicopter to evac anybody so how bad do we have it? My carpet got wrecked, I'm gonna have to put some new floors in. Stuff can always be replaced. Pets, people, not so much," Vince Prew told WIFR.
An estimated 40,000 Texans were seeking refuge in 250 shelters across the state, according to the governor's office.
For those who were still in their homes, Perry said 15 points of distribution for food and water would open by midnight Sunday.
Ike's winds and flooding also left 2.6 million homes and businesses in Texas and Louisiana without power, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Much of the Texas-Louisiana coast was declared a major disaster area.
President Bush said Sunday he will visit Texas on Tuesday, and he warned that it's "going to require time for people to recover."
Gas prices soared across the country amid fears the storm would disrupt fuel supplies. Ike hit a region that is home to about 25 percent of the United States' oil refining capacity, and the storm's progress across the Gulf of Mexico shut down crude oil collection from Gulf oil fields.
|posted by Moderator Londen time 1:23 PM