Hurricane Ike battered the southeast Texas coast today with driving rain and ferocious wind gusts, the eye of the storm powering ashore at Galveston at 3:10am as a strong Category 2 storm. Thousands of homes and government buildings flooded, roads were washed out and several fires burned unabated as crews could not reach them. More than 2.9 million lost power, and suppliers warned it could be weeks before service was restored.
But the biggest fear was that thousands of people had defied orders to flee and would need rescue from submerged homes and neighborhoods. "The unfortunate truth is we're going to have to go in and put our people in the tough situation to save people who did not choose wisely. We'll probably do the largest search and rescue operation that's ever been conducted in the state of Texas," said a rep for Texas governor Rick Perry.