Texans urged to flee 'certain death' in form of Ike
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As the category 3 hurricane made its way across Texas, more than one million residents evacuated coastal Texas. US Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff said that Ike is "a worst case scenario."
More than one million people have evacuated coastal Texas ahead of Ike, a "worst-case scenario" hurricane promising to devastate the US Gulf Coast, the governor of Texas said Friday.
"There is a point in time when Mother Nature will overcome any of your efforts, but we put our best foot forward and got a great evacuation going," Governor Rick Perry told CNN.
"I think that 1.2 million have already evacuated from the area," including 12,500 special needs patients, he added.
Some 400 miles (640 kilometers) of Texas and Louisiana coastline was under hurricane watch as Ike barreled in from the Gulf of Mexico, with the coastal city of Galveston on the front lines bracing for a direct hit and the entire coast of Galveston Bay threatened with massive flooding.
Houston, the fourth largest US city with a metropolitan area population topping five million people, is just a few miles from the bay and is also forecast to be hammered hard.
"It is a worst-case scenario for us, but it is one that we have been practicing for a long time, and the state is as prepared as any state in the nation to address this," Perry said.
Speaking on Fox News, Perry described Ike as "a monster of a storm," and urged the holdouts still in the coastal area to leave.
"Get out of harm's way and live another day," Perry said. "Individuals who think they are tougher, stronger than Mother Nature -- God be with them."
Forecasters said the storm, which left more than 100 dead across the Caribbean, would pack winds in excess of 120 miles (190 kilometers) per hour when it rages ashore, pushing a storm surge high enough to engulf a two-story house.