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Wind-whipped waves surged over a 17-foot seawall in Galveston and filled streets with waist-high water. Homes were flooding, utilities said more than 4.5 million people were without power and there was fear hurricane-force winds could shatter the windows of the sparkling skyscrapers that define the skyline of America's fourth-largest city.
Rescue crews worried daybreak would bring a nightmare scenario: Thousands who defied evacuation orders and became trapped in submerged communities. Already, dozens of calls had come into 911 dispatchers begging for help.
Firefighters left three buildings to burn Galveston because water was too high for fire trucks to reach them. But there was some good news: a stranded freighter with 22 men aboard made it through the brunt of the storm safely, and a tugboat was on the way to save them.
As Hurricane Ike pushed a swelling surge onto Galveston Island this morning, many of the estimated 23,000 Galveston residents who ignored a mandatory evacuation order phoned for rescues to no avail because emergency workers were called off the streets, officials said.
Help wasn't expected until after dangerous storm conditions subsided.
"We don't know what we're going to find tomorrow," said the city's mayor, Lyda Ann Thomas. "We hope we'll find that the people who didn't leave here are alive and well."
City Manager Steve LeBlanc went so far as to ask the media not to photograph "certain things" in the aftermath, referring to the possibility of dead bodies.
Originally posted by KMFNWO
Its over the Houston Ship Channel. so despite landfall, its still over water.
Forecasters warned Ike would send water surging up the Houston Ship Canal, the second-busiest U.S. port, a complex of docks, pipelines, depots and warehouses that receives automobiles, consumer products, industrial equipment and other cargo from around the world.