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A look at the regions of the world most affected by the financial crisis, and what governments are doing to try to alleviate the financial turmoil.
The International Monetary Fund said it was ready to lend to countries hit by the credit crunch, using an emergency funding mechanism first used in the 1990s Asian financial crisis.
The US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, and the central banks of Canada, Sweden and Switzerland took the unprecedented step on 8 October of co-ordinating a half-point cut in interest rates in an effort to ease the credit crunch.
MEXICO: President Felipe Calderon has proposed to spend $4.4bn on infrastructure and energy projects to boost the economy. The central bank has also begun to auction off $2.5bn in reserves to prop up the falling peso.
US: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has warned that some banks will fail despite the $700bn rescue package to shore up the financial system.
He said the financial crisis would not end soon and called for the plan’s swift implementation.
Mr Paulson wants to use the money to buy up many of the dubious mortgage investments on Wall Street.
AUSTRALIA: Australia’s central bank has cut its key interest rate from 7% to 6% – a much bigger-than-expected reduction. Observers had only expected a half-point cut as inflation is currently above target.
CHINA: China has also joined the interest rate offensive, cutting rates by 0.27 percentage points.
JAPAN: Prime Minister Taro Aso said he would call an emergency summit of the G8 if finance ministers meeting in Washington did not reach agreement to take action on the credit crisis.
He has said more action would need to be taken to boost the country’s flagging economy, even after the lower house approved a 1.8 trillion yen ($18bn) stimulus plan and the Bank of Japan put 4.5 trillion yen ($45.5 billion) into the banking system.
SOUTH KOREA, HONG KONG, TAIWAN: The central banks of South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan have joined the growing number of countries to cut their interest rates.
AUSTRIA: Austria officially announced a guarantee for all personal bank savings, retroactive to 1 October.
BELGIUM: The Belgian government has agreed to guarantee bank deposits of up to 100,000 euros ($136,000) – an increase of 80,000 euros.
The country’s largest banking group, Fortis, needed the intervention of the Belgian and Dutch governments and the sale of some of its assets to French giant BNP Paribas, to stay alive after getting into difficulty over the purchase of Dutch bank ABN Amro.
DENMARK: The Danish parliament has approved a government-backed crisis plan which gives an unlimited guarantee to savings deposits.
GERMANY: The country’s second-biggest commercial property lender, Hypo Real Estate, was threatened with collapse last week after incurring large amounts of bad debt. It survived after a government-sponsored rescue was arranged.
GREECE: The Greek government said on 3 October it would fully guarantee all bank deposits of citizens, but an official added that this was a “political commitment” and the banking system was not at risk.
HUNGARY: The Hungarian government has proposed raising the guarantee on bank deposits from the current 6m to 13m forints ($67,000) following talks with the president of the Hungarian central bank.
ICELAND: The authorities have taken over the country’s biggest bank, Kaupthing, the third such takeover in recent days. Iceland’s financial regulator said the move was made to protect domestic deposits. Two other largest banks, Landsbanki and Glitni, had earlier been nationalised.
Iceland’s parliament has passed emergency legislation giving the government wide-ranging powers to dictate banks’ operations.
The government has agreed measures allowing the banks to sell off some foreign assets to help shore up the financial system.
Negotiations are under way with Russia for a big loan to support the country’s banking system. Moscow has offered more than $5bn in emergency loans.
IRELAND: Ireland was the first government to come to the rescue of its citizens’ savings, promising on 30 September to guarantee all deposits, bonds and debts in its six main banks for two years.
The move initially prompted consternation among some European partners, but several countries have since followed suit.
ITALY: The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, said the government was prepared to buy stakes in failing banks while waiving voting rights in an effort to guarantee stability.
NETHERLANDS: The Dutch government has said it will make 20bn euros ($27bn) available to protect the financial sector from “extreme shocks” during the credit crisis. The Netherlands has also trebled the amount of savers’ deposits it will protect to 100,000 euros ($136,776).
RUSSIA: The parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, has passed a law giving the state-run Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Activities 1.3 trillion roubles ($50bn) to pay off or service Russian banks’ foreign loans.
It comes after President Dmitry Medvedev announced 950m roubles ($36.4bn) of long-term help for banks at an emergency Kremlin meeting on 7 October.
Russia’s two leading stock exchanges have suspended trading several times after suffering massive falls in value.
SPAIN: Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on 7 October increased bank deposit guarantees to 100,000 euros ($136,000) from the current 20,000 euros. Spain has been calling for a joint European initiative to tackle the world financial crisis.
UK: The government has announced a £50bn ($88bn) package to prop up eight of the largest banks and building societies. In return, the government would receive shares in those institutions. A further £450bn would be made available to provide liquidity to the money markets and loan guarantees for banks.
The announcement came after banking shares plunged on 7 October and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) warned that Britain was already in a recession which could see unemployment rise by 350,000 by next year.
ARAB STATES: Share prices have dropped precipitously this year, amid fears of weakness in Dubai’s property boom and exposure to global markets. However, economists expect growth to continue at a moderate rate as the region’s oil wealth cushions the worst of the financial turmoil.
INDIA: The central bank has moved to inject 600bn rupees ($12.2bn) into the money markets after sharp falls in Mumbai’s stock exchange and the plunge of the rupee to an all-time low. Analysts say that India’s inflation rate of 12% limits the central bank’s scope to cut interest rates.
Norton Antivirus firm buys rival
Symantec is keen to expand in the growing cloud computing market
US anti-virus software firm Symantec has agreed to buy web security firm MessageLabs for $695m (£401.2m).
Best known for its Norton range of PC security software, the move is set to allow Symantec to expand its internet services business.
MessageLabs produces security products for instant-messaging, e-mail and the internet.
Subject to regulatory approval, the firms hope the deal will be completed by the end of the year.
Analysts welcomed the acquisition, but some were cautious about Symantec’s prospects in the face of global economic problems.
MessageLabs, which has regional headquarters in the UK, US and Australia, has more than eight million end users at more than 19,000 businesses.
California-based Symantec provides online backup, storage, and remote access products, which makes it possible for clients to access information and applications on their PCs from any location where there’s web access.
Symantec said the deal would enable the two companies to cross-sell to each others customers.
‘US missile’ hits Pakistani house
The US military has been using drones armed with missiles in Afghanistan
A missile from a suspected US unmanned aircraft (drone) has killed at least eight people in a Pakistani tribal area close to Afghanistan, reports say.
Unnamed Pakistani security sources say it hit a house in the village of Tappi, North Waziristan, and that the dead include a number of Arabs.
There was no immediate US confirmation of the attack.
Cross-border raids by US forces targeting Islamic militants have strained relations with Pakistan.
Earlier, a roadside bomb exploded close to a prison vehicle and a school bus in north-western Pakistan, killing at least 10 people.
The remote-controlled device exploded in the Upper Dir district of North-West Frontier Province near Swat valley.
Officials said those killed by the blast included four schoolgirls and a number of policemen and prisoners.
Pakistani intelligence sources quoted by Western news agencies differed as to the identity of the owner of the house in Tappi and how many people were killed.
According to some reports, up to nine people were killed in the village, about 20km (12 miles) east of North Waziristan’s main town, Miranshah.
At least some of the dead are believed to have been Arabs, possibly militants.
American military commanders blame militants based in the tribal areas for the increase in attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan.
The latest incident comes a week after a similar bombing in the same region, which killed at least 20 people.
Also on Thursday, a suicide bomb attack on the main police complex in centre of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, wounded at least 13 people.
Pakistan’s parliament has been holding a special session for a classified briefing on Pakistan’s internal security situation.
The session was called to try to help form a national consensus on how to tackle Islamic militancy and the surge in suicide bombings.
Oil row brings down Peru cabinet
President Garcia has ordered an investigation
The Peruvian government has stepped down over a continuing scandal about the allocation of oil concessions.
President Alan Garcia said he was accepting the resignation of the full cabinet offered on Thursday by Prime Minister Jorge del Castillo.
The country’s Energy Minister Juan Valdivia and the president of the state oil company stepped down on Sunday.
A day later, President Garcia put five oil contracts with Discover Petroleum, a Norwegian firm, on hold.
The scandal emerged last Sunday when a TV station broadcast a tape which it claimed was a recording of an executive in the state oil company, Petroperu, and a prominent lobbyist discussing payments to help Discover Petroleum win contracts.
The company denies any wrong-doing, as does Petroperu’s president, Cesar Gutierrez.
Mr Garcia has ordered an investigation and insisted that the government must be purged of corruption.
This week, thousands of people protested in several Peruvian cities, calling for the government to step down.
They accused the governing party Apra of “stealing” while the people were struggling.
G7 nations pledge to fight crisis
G7 finance ministers outside the US Treasury in Washington, 10 October 2008
The G7 nations have pledged a co-ordinated response to the crisis
Finance ministers from leading industrialised nations have pledged action to tackle the financial crisis after a torrid week on stock markets.
The G7 nations said they would take “decisive action and use all available tools”, after a meeting in Washington.
They issued a five-point plan aimed at unfreezing the flow of credit.
Widespread fears of a global recession caused Asian, European and US markets to tumble on Friday despite rate cuts and cash injections by central banks.
As well as the Washington meeting of the G7 – which comprises the US, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada – the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hold talks in the US capital over the weekend.
Leaders of the eurozone countries are also scheduled to meet in Paris on Sunday.
After Friday’s G7 meeting, US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the group had a clear vision of what needed doing, and was working together to stabilise the world’s panic-stricken money markets.
Henry Paulson says “it is critical for governments to provide much needed liquidity”
“We are squarely focused on the immediate need to stabilise our financial market and recognise that investor confidence is critical to restore liquidity and enhance the stability of our financial system,” he said.
The plan is intended to protect major banks and financial institutions from failure and ensure they can raise capital from public and private sources.
It includes steps to unfreeze the flow of credit and protect savers, although it did not reveal any specific measures.
Mr Paulson said the US was working closely with China and Japan – both of which hold large amounts of US treasury bonds – to resolve the crisis.
He added that the US government was also working on a scheme to buy stakes in struggling financial institutions.
“We are working to develop a standardized programme that is open to a broad array of financial institutions,” he said.
While the G7 statement identifies the main areas requiring urgent attention, it is short on detail, says the BBC’s Andrew Walker in Washington, adding that much will now depend on how each government takes its own plans forward.
Earlier on Friday, US President George W Bush said his government would continue to act to resolve the crisis.
Speaking on the White House lawn, Mr Bush said the recent market turmoil was being driven by “uncertainty and fear”.
But he said the US authorities had a comprehensive strategy and a wide range of tools that they were using “aggressively” to fix the problems.
President Bush leaves after speaking at the White House on 10 October 2008
We’re in this together and we’ll come through this together
Peston: Global fix needed
Fear grips global stock markets
Credit crisis: World in turmoil
Mr Bush defended last week’s rescue package, saying it was big enough, but stressing it would take time to have its full impact.
But volatile market conditions continued despite moves on Wednesday by six of the main central banks to cut interest rates by 0.5% and a separate move by China’s central bank to cut rates by 0.27%.
Wall Street has lost a fifth of its value in the past 10 trading days, suffering one of its biggest weekly falls since the Dow Jones index was created 112 years ago.
Markets in France, Germany and Britain plunged to end Friday between seven and nine percent lower.
Shares in Asia also closed down sharply, with Japan’s main Nikkei index suffering its biggest one-day drop since the 1987 stock market crash.
As panic mounted, there were trading suspensions in several countries including Russia, Austria, Iceland, Romania, Ukraine, Brazil and Indonesia.
Amid the gloom, the British pound tumbled to a five-year low against the US dollar and oil prices plummeted to a one-year low.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is guilty of abuse of power, according to a probe by the state legislature.
The Republican vice-presidential candidate was accused of sacking a senior state official, Walter Monegan, in connection with a family feud.
But the McCain-Palin campaign team said that the report showed Mrs Palin acted within “proper and lawful authority”.
The report could have a significant effect on Republican hopes of winning next month’s US presidential election.
Mrs Palin has always denied any wrongdoing, and her supporters say the charges are motivated by her political opponents.
She stood accused of dismissing Mr Monegan for refusing to sack a state trooper who was in a bitter custody battle with her sister.
The report concluded a family grudge was not the sole reason for the dismissal, but was a likely contributing factor.
However, the report said that Mrs Palin had not exceeded her powers when she sacked Mr Monegan.
Speaking after a bipartisan investigating panel reached its decision on what has become known as Troopergate, Mr Monegan said he felt “vindicated”.
“It sounds like they’ve validated my belief and opinions,” he said. “And that tells me I’m not totally out in left field.”
The panel found Mrs Palin in violation of a state ethics law prohibiting public officials from using their office for personal gain.
I would encourage people to be very cautious, to look at [the report] with a jaundiced eye
Republican state senator
Economy could deflect sting
“I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110 (a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act,” investigator Steve Branchflower concluded in the panel’s 263-page report.
But Mrs Palin’s lawyer said that the report had not been conclusive.
“In order to violate the ethics law, there has to be some personal gain,” said Thomas Van Flein.
“Mr Branchflower has failed to identify any financial gain.”
And Alaskan state Senator Gary Stevens, a Republican, said there were “some problems” with the finding.
Palin supporter in Anchorage
Palin’s supporters say the probe was politically motivated
“I would encourage people to be very cautious, to look at this with a jaundiced eye,” said Senator Stevens, after the report’s release was announced.
Several Republican politicians had earlier attempted to have the investigation stopped on the grounds that it was politically motivated.
The investigation into the affair began before Mr McCain selected Mrs Palin as his running mate in August.
The US presidential race has now become so polarised both Republicans and Democrats will likely see the report’s findings as vindication for their own trenchant views about Mrs Palin, says the BBC’s Richard Lister in Washington.
Alaska’s governor will either be seen as the victim of a Democratic party hatchet job, or a hypocrite.
Most voters, for now at least, seem more concerned about who will extract them from the current economic crisis, than any questions about political infighting in far-off Alaska, our correspondent adds.
Mrs Palin maintains she fired Mr Monegan in July over a budgetary dispute.
But Mr Monegan said he was dismissed for resisting pressure from Mrs Palin and her husband, Todd, to fire State Trooper Mike Wooten, Mrs Palin’s former brother-in-law.
Mr Monegan said he simply wanted the truth to be made known.
Sarah Palin campaigns in Golden, Colorado, 15 Sept
Sarah Palin has denied any wrongdoing over the affair
“The governor did want me to fire [Mr Wooten], and I chose to not,” he told the Associated Press news agency.
“He didn’t do anything under my watch to result in termination.”
Todd Palin has admitted he did publicise what he called the “injustice of a violent trooper keeping his badge”.
But he said his wife, who did not give evidence to the enquiry, then told him to drop the matter.
The McCain campaign on Thursday issued its own report, written by its staff, stating that the Alaska governor was not guilty of any wrongdoing.
“The following document will prove Walt Monegan’s dismissal was a result of his insubordination and budgetary clashes with Governor Palin and her administrators,” campaign officials wrote. “Trooper Wooten is a separate issue.”
The 21-page report suggests that the allegations against Mrs Palin stem from a conspiracy planned by a former campaign opponent of hers, Andrew Halcro, and Mr Wooten.
“It is tragic that a false story hatched by a blogger over drinks with Trooper Wooten led the legislature to allocate over $100,000 of public money to be spent in what has become a politically-driven investigation,” it concludes.
The McCain campaign says the inquiry has been muddied by innuendo, rumour and partisan politics.
Thai Protesters Trap Legislators
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By SETH MYDANS and THOMAS FULLER
Published: October 7, 2008
BANGKOK — In a day of street battles that left more than 100 people injured, thousands of anti-government protesters surrounded the Thai Parliament Tuesday, trapping hundreds of members inside for more than five hours.
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Sakchai Lalit/Associated Press
Anti-government protesters fleeing from tear gas fired by riot police in front of parliament in Bangkok on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat escaped over a back fence in the morning after delivering a policy address. But other members were unable to leave until the police dispersed the protesters and cleared the way for them.
“We ran, ran, ran,” said one Parliament member, Niyom Vejkarma, who had stripped off his jacket and tie and fled from the building in his patent leather shoes.
“My eyes are sore,” he said, referring to the tear gas that lingered in the air, as he and fellow lawmakers stood at a street corner with their mobile telephones and called their drivers.
The siege escalated a six-week sit-in on the grounds of the prime minister’s office, less than a mile away, that has forced the government to relocate its business to a former international airport.
The surrounding of the Parliament, meanwhile, appeared to have been well planned and well supplied. Protesters distributed food, water and masks to protect against tear gas. They made barricades out of tires and razor wire and secured the entrance to the Parliament building. Groups of reinforcements arrived during the afternoon, some carrying banners.
The police attacked the protesters repeatedly, firing tear gas canisters and stun grenades and injuring scores of people, including two who lost parts of their legs.
The protesters, some wearing motorcycle helmets and masks, some armed with metal rods, machetes and slingshots, threw back tear gas canisters as well as rocks and firecrackers.
A hospital spokesman quoted by The Associated Press said 118 people had been injured, 24 of them seriously. A police spokesman said several police officers were also hurt, including one who was stabbed in the abdomen with a metal pole.
Queen Sirikit, the wife of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, donated 100,000 baht, or about $2,900, to Vachira Hospital to help treat the injured, said hospital director Wanchai Chareonchoktawee. Both sides in the political standoff have claimed allegiance to the monarchy.
“Together we win or lose, we will know it today, we won’t give up,” said Anchalee Paireerak, a leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, the anti-government group that has held street protests since May and continues to occupy the grounds of the prime minister’s office.
The alliance is a patchwork coalition of businessmen, academics and activists who accuse the government of being a proxy for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup in 2006 and who is now a fugitive in London where he has asked for political asylum to avoid corruption cases against him.
They seek to modify the country’s democratic system to weaken the electoral power of the rural poor, who formed the base of support of Mr. Thaksin and now of the ruling People Power Party.
The prime minister is a brother-in-law of Mr. Thaksin, but has sought to find a compromise with the protesters since taking office three weeks ago. Their aggressive action Tuesday appeared to have derailed the early stages of talks between the two sides.
Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh resigned early in the day, taking responsibility for the failure of the talks.
In his policy speech, before he fled the building, Mr. Somchai said, “This government is determined to tackle economic problems and to listen to all sides to find a solution to end the crisis.”
Mr. Somchai took office after his predecessor, Samak Sundaravej, was forced to step down by a court, which found him guilty of conflict of interest for being paid to appear on a televised cooking show.
During a day of violence, protesters also set fire to parked cars and trucks and smashed the windows of police vans.
About a mile away from the fighting, an unidentified person was killed when a vehicle exploded near the headquarters of the Chart Thai Party, a member of the six-party government coalition. The police said they suspected that a bomb had caused the explosion.
Despite the violence, during the day the crowd outside Parliament had a sometimes lighthearted air, with middle-class men and women and even a few children joining the crowd.
“I’m here to chase out the government,” said Pihanuch Klangrach, 19, a computer science student who was wearing a Mickey Mouse hat, shorts, a yellow shirt and heels.
Some distance from the demonstration, Supit Nakham, 42, the driver of a three-wheel “tuk-tuk” taxi, voiced the feelings of many other Thais who have become weary of the protests and the economic damage they have caused:
“I’m bored with this. The economy is bad. Fewer tourists are coming to Thailand. There are traffic jams all over the place. I can’t work. They should talk this out and the demonstration should stop.”
Right whales: On the move, on the rebound?
Posted: 09:00 AM ET
For the 29th year in a row, scientists from the New England Aquarium have spent the summer observing North Atlantic right whales in the Bay of Fundy, between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Still critically endangered and still mysterious, there’s some cautious optimism from researchers that the 300-350 animals left may be making a comeback.
Placards like these warn ship captains to watch for slow-moving right whales. Scientists say shipping companies are getting the message off the coast of eastern Canada. Courtesy Dr. Moira Brown
“Between the recent protection measures, and the fact that right whales doubled in reproductive output in the past seven years, there is room for hope and optimism,” said Dr. Moira Brown, senior scientist at the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts.
“In the latter part of my career, maybe I will be able to monitor the recovery of this species. For me to see that would be my wildest dream,” said Brown.
The protection measures Brown talked about include a voluntary measure that took effect June 1, involving the Roseway Basin, a 1,000-square-nautical-mile region south of Barrington, Nova Scotia. It is a primary feeding and socializing ground for right whales. The International Maritime Organization, the U.N. body that regulates shipping activities, adopted Canada’s proposal that the Roseway Bay be designated an “Area to Be Avoided,” or ATBA.
Basically, ships 300 tons and larger make a slight alteration to their route to steer clear of the 70 ton mammals, during the six months (June to December) that the whales spend in those cold northern waters.
Scientists at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia have monitored ship compliance with this voluntary measure, and according to Brown it is about 70%.
Brown said she’s found a desire by many shipping companies to increase their awareness of these slow moving animals, and says average citizens have also played a part.
“I think public awareness in eastern Canada has been huge,” said Brown.
The whales are also doing their part to preserve their species. The New England Aquarium team believes at least 25 calves were born this year, surviving their critical first 8 months.
“And they’re looking healthy,” said Brown.
Right whales are just beginning their annual 1000+ mile migration from Canadian/New England waters to their calving grounds off the Georgia/Florida border. Whale moms somehow figured out that their newborn calves have a much greater chance of survival if they are born in those warm southern waters. Most calves are born in December, January, and February.
For the 20th summer, Aquarium researchers have also gathered genetic samples from as many right whales as possible.
“We are developing genetic profiles and a life history database to add to the photo identifications we have kept for years,” said Brown.
Scientists hope to learn more about the level of genetic variation in this small population, and find out more about how robust the marine mammals are. Brown estimates that 75% of the population has been biopsied.
But the whales are by no means out of the woods.
There is still no final action on a U.S. proposal to help avoid ship strikes on right whales. In August, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) filed its final environmental impact statement on the rule, which has been languishing in the Office of Management and Budget for more than a year.
Keeping them honest: How bad was Ike?
Posted: 01:56 PM ET
CNN Meteorology Intern Andrew Maloof crunched the numbers on what was predicted for Hurricane Ike’s storm surge, and what really happened.
Searchers recovered three more bodies from the wreckage of Hurricane Ike yesterday, bringing the storm’s death toll to 67. That awful toll, and the images of lost homes and changed lives all happened from a storm that fell short of predictions.
Homes on the Bolivar Peninsula before Ike.
Homes on the Bolivar Peninsula before Ike.
The public advisories and discussions of the forecast storm surge from Hurricane Ike were off by 5-10 feet, and yet destruction reigned over Galveston Island, Bolivar Peninsula and other coastal communities.
The same area after Ike. (USGS Photos)
The same area after Ike. (USGS Photos)
100 AM CDT FRI SEP 12 2008
“COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF UP TO 20 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE
LEVELS…ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES…CAN BE
EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER OF IKE MAKES
LANDFALL… SURGE FLOODING OF UP TO 25 FEET COULD OCCUR AT THE HEADS OF BAYS.”
(National Hurricane Center, Miami, FL)
The National Hurricane Center predicted huge storm surges that, for most areas on the coast, didn’t happen. Had those dire predictions been true, the chemical and oil refineries along Galveston Bay could have taken a much larger hit.
These are the actual recorded surge heights:
STORM SURGE Max Heights in FEET (Tidal Surges Will Vary .5’-2’)
Galveston State Pleasure Pier.. 11.19’
Rollover Pass……………… 11.06’
Eagle Point……………….. 10.75’
Port of Galveston Pier 21…… 10.25’
Morgans Point……………… 7.76’
Battleship Texas State Park…. 6.11’
LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA
Sabine Pass……………….. 12.54’
Texas Point……………….. 11.79’
Port Arthur……………….. 11.25’
Rainbow Bridge…………….. 9.29’
When the word hurricane pops up on the news, the first thing people start to ponder is how big it will get. The category, known as the Saffir-Simpson Scale, is based on wind. It can range from Category 1 (74 to 95 MPH) to Category 5 (over 155 MPH). What many do not realize is the fact that wind is not the true killer, but only an accomplice to the most deadly aspect of a hurricane, the storm surge. According to the National Weather Service, “Storm surge is simply water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level 15 feet or more.” So, when meteorologists tell the public that the category of a storm is increasing from say 3 to 4, they is also implying that the storm surge will increase.
Before/After aerial photos of Ike’s damage can be viewed here
Coastal communities on Bolivar Peninsula as you look at “after” pictures, anyone staying in the homes that are now completely gone would have been swept into Galveston Bay by the storm surge, a trauma that would have not been survivable.