Officials: 2 Die From Hurricane Ike In Texas, La.
HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities say two people in Texas and Louisiana have died from Hurricane Ike, while the U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a teenager who was swept out to sea by a large wave.
Authorities say a Pinehurst, Texas woman died in her bed early Saturday after a tree fell on her home, crushing her. Officials say she was the first reported death attributed to Ike.
Louisiana officials say a 16-year-old boy drowned Saturday after falling out of a fishing boat in Ike-flooded Bayou Dularge.
The Coast Guard has been searching for 19-year-old Michael Moxly off the shores of Corpus Christi, Texas. Petty Officer Josh Morales says Moxly was on a jetty when he was swept away Friday off North Padre Island as Ike approached a Texas landfall.
Hurricane Ike is now a tropical storm as it continues to cross over eastern Texas.
But in its wake, there is heavy rainfall, and fierce winds are still blowing. Tornadoes are threatening parts of Texas and Louisiana. Authorities in some places have not been able to venture outside to get a full look at the damage.
The storm has claimed its first fatality in a neighborhood north of Houston. Officials say a tree fell on a woman’s home and killed her as she slept.
Many roads are still impassable and officials have not been able to reach flooded areas where there may be more casualties. More than 100,000 people in coastal communities ignored mandatory evacuation orders.
In Houston, trees have been blown from their roots and glass from skyscrapers litters the street. Police are downtown, using bullhorns to order citizens off the streets. Chunks of glass have still been plunging from Chase Tower.
Ike made landfall in Galveston, Texas, with 110 mile-per-hour winds. Its top winds are now down to 60 miles-per-hour.
Meanwhile, President George W. Bush has declared a major disaster in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Ike.
He’s also trying to reassure storm victims, saying “the American people will be praying for them and will be ready to help once the storm moves on.”
Speaking at the White House this morning, Bush said rescue teams are at the ready. He also noted that “some people didn’t evacuate when asked.” Officials are concerned that tens of thousands of people in low-lying areas of Texas and Louisiana may have to be rescued. But, Bush says the emergency teams “are sensitive to helping people and are fully prepared to do so.”
Bush also says the Department of Energy and state authorities are keeping tabs on a gasoline crisis so consumers are not gouged at the pump. AAA says gas prices nationwide rose nearly 6 cents a gallon overnight.