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Hurricane Ike Leaves Rescuers To Clean Up

Hurricane Ike hit the coast of Texas late Friday with 12 to 15-foot swells. Claiming at least thirteen people, Ike ripped through Texas leaving a trail of destruction as far as Houston.

Of the 57,000 residents of coastal-city Galveston, 20,000 residents were estimated to have disregarded the mandatory evacuation orders, reported the New York Times. The Associated Press reported that state and federal officials were forced to conduct 1,984 rescues, including 394 by air, making it the largest search-and-rescue effort in Texas history.

Over 2 million Texans are without power as of Sunday and it could be weeks before power is fully restored in the area officials said.

“We’re asking people just to be patient.? R. David Paulison, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said in an interview on CNN on Sunday. “Don’t be in a hurry. If you’re in a safe place, whether a shelter or hotel or motel, or staying with friends and family, just stay right there.?

Experts say the storm was not as bad as predicted in spite of the overwhelming flooding. Stacey Stewart, a senior hurricane analyst at the National Hurricane Center, said a shift in the storm’s track to the north just before landfall might have kept the rise in sea levels on the lower side of what had been forecast, reported the New York Times.

The Associated Press reported that President Bush made plans to visit the area Tuesday. On his trip to Texas, Bush said he intends to express "the federal government's support - sympathy on the one hand and support on the other - for this recovery effort and rebuilding effort."