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Hurricane Ike Updates from the Associated Press

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Ike evacuee arrested for allegedly firing gun
Saturday, 5:31 a.m.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- A Hurricane Ike evacuee from Houston has been arrested on charges of firing nearly a dozen shots in a Corpus Christi hotel parking lot.

Nueces County authorities say the 28-year-old began firing after a car struck a luggage cart carrying his 5-year-old son. No one was injured.

The child was jostled on the cart but not seriously hurt.

The man, who was not identified, was being held on charges of possession of a firearm and discharge of a firearm.

Authorities say it was unclear where the man was aiming. Several other hurricane evacuees witnessed the shooting.

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Historic Houston restaurant a 'total loss'
Saturday, 4:25 a.m.

HOUSTON -- Assistant Fire Chief Omero Longoria says three people were taken to a hospital after fire destroyed a historic downtown Houston restaurant.

Firefighters got the call of a fire at Brennan's restaurant in downtown Houston just after midnight, but were still on the scene more than four hours later, Longoria said Saturday.

"It was a pretty massive fire," Longoria said.

Two men and a little girl were outside the restaurant when firefighters got there. Longoria said the two men were workers at the restaurant and the girl was the daughter of one of the men.

The father and daughter were transported to a hospital in critical condition with burns to 70 percent of their body. The other man was also taken to the hospital, he said.

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Nearly 3M people without power as Ike hits
Saturday, 3:06 a.m.

HOUSTON -- Nearly 3 million people are without power in the Houston area as Hurricane Ike slams the Texas coast.

It will likely be a while before electricity returns. CenterPoint Energy says it could take weeks before all the power in the nation's fourth-largest city was restored.

Utility spokesman Floyd LeBlanc said 1.3 million customers - or about 2.9 million people - had lost power by the time the storm made landfall at Galveston early Saturday. Work crews were coming in Monday to restore power, and priority will be given to hospitals, fire and police departments and water and sewage treatment plants.

The city's last direct hit from a hurricane came from Alicia in 1983, when 750,000 CenterPoint customers lost power. It took 16 days to restore all service.

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Ike crashes ashore in Texas as Cat. 2 hurricane
Saturday, 2:38 a.m.

GALVESTON, Texas -- The eye of hurricane Ike has powered onto land in Galveston, Texas, and the storm is punishing the shoreline with 110 mph winds.

The National Hurricane Center says the eye landed at 3:10 a.m. EDT in the coastal community southeast of Houston.

Along the coast, storm gusts are bending trees, waist-deep water overruns roadways and rattling windows keep uneasy residents awake. The storm has cut power to hundreds of thousands.

Two million people are hunkered down in their homes around Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city.

Another 1 million people evacuated coastal communities in the days leading up to the storm. But officials still fear a massive rescue operation will be required for those who stayed.

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More than 4M people without power as Ike hits
Saturday, 1:50 a.m.

HOUSTON -- About 4.5 million people are without power in the Houston area as Hurricane Ike slams the Texas coast.

It will likely be awhile before electricity returns. CenterPoint Energy says it could take weeks before all the power in the nation's fourth-largest city was restored.

Utility spokesman Floyd LeBlanc said 850,000 customers - or 4.5 million people - had lost power by early Saturday. Work crews were coming in Monday to restore power, and priority will be given to hospitals, fire and police departments and water and sewage treatment plants.

The city's last direct hit from a hurricane came from Alicia in 1983, when 750,000 CenterPoint customers lost power. It took 16 days to restore all service.

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Nuke plant stays on during Ike
Friday, 11:33 p.m.

WADSWORTH, Texas -- The South Texas Project twin-reactor nuclear power plant is expected to stay on line and not be threatened by Hurricane Ike.

The facility produces more than 7 percent of the electricity used in Texas and is built to withstand a major hurricane and tornadoes. It was expected to see winds of about 55 mph from Ike.

The buildings that house STP's reactors, vital equipment and spent fuel have steel-reinforced concrete walls, four to seven feet thick. The plant is 10 miles inland at an elevation of 29 feet to avoid a large hurricane storm surge.

The facility should stay online as long as the state's electric grid can handle the power, said Edward , spokesman for the STP Nuclear Operating Company.

"We're online and staying online," Conaway said, adding the company is staying in touch with state grid operators.

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Ike evacuee gives birth in New Braunfels
Friday, 10:11 p.m.

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas -- An evacuee from Hurricane Ike gave birth in the bathroom of a shelter today with the help of an expert in geriatric psychiatry who delivered his first baby in two decades.

Dr. Mark Burns told the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung in a report for Saturday's newspaper that it was kind of like riding a bicycle.

Ku Paw delivered a baby girl on the floor of the girls restroom at Church Hill Middle School in New Braunfels with the aid of Burns, intensive care nurse Peggy Bielke and a few volunteers.

Paw, an evacuee from Calhoun County along the Texas coast, was staying with about 270 others. She was evaluated at a hospital earlier but returned to the shelter with the expectation she wouldn't go into labor until Monday.

Burns had been asked by New Braunfels City Councilwoman Kathleen Krueger to stop by the school and see a few patients. Burns said he was leaving when he was alerted that Paw was in labor.

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Ike brings hurricane-force gusts to Texas coast
Friday, 9:53 p.m.

HOUSTON -- Hurricane-force gusts of at least 74 mph are lashing Galveston, Texas, as Hurricane Ike approaches.

The National Hurricane Center says the storm hasn't strengthened in the past few hours as it closes in on the Texas Coast.

But it's on the cusp of major hurricane status as a Category 2 storm with top winds of 110 mph.

Forecasters say the storm's center is about 55 miles southeast of Galveston and moving at about 12 mph. The eye is expected to crash ashore early Saturday.

The storm's already sending towering waves to the Texas coast. Meteorologists expect storm surge as high as 20 feet near where the eye comes ashore.

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Winds stall rescue of crew on ship facing Ike
Friday, 9:51 p.m.

GALVESTON, Texas -- The Coast Guard says a 22-man crew of a disabled freighter adrift in the Gulf of Mexico safely rode out the worst of Hurricane Ike and was waiting for a tow to land.

The 584-foot ship, carrying a load of petroleum coke, withstood 20-plus-foot waves and winds in excess of 90 mph, said Petty Officer Tom Atkeson. A tug boat was en route from Corpus Christi, avoiding Ike, and expected to reach the ship around noon Saturday.

As of Friday evening, the ship was about 170 miles southeast of Galveston.

Ike's eye was forecast to strike somewhere near Galveston late today, but the massive system was already buffeting Texas and Louisiana.

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Houston mayor, councilman visit storm stalwarts
Friday, 9:37 p.m.

HOUSTON -- Houston Mayor Bill White and city councilman Mike Sullivan have a message for residents of the Clear Lake neighborhood: Get out, and get out now.

The two went door-to-door Friday afternoon with a bullhorn in an apartment complex in a last-ditch effort to get residents to leave.

White and Sullivan visited the area southeast of downtown just after noon. The area includes three of the nine ZIP codes in the city limits under mandatory evacuation orders.

Sullivan says the residents were planning to ride out the storm for various reasons - one had a broken-down car and others simply said they preferred to hunker down than try to flee.

White ordered six buses to the area to take the residents to a downtown shelter. Sullivan said three buses were filled.

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Hurricane Ike grows as it closes in on Texas
Friday, 6:51 p.m.

HOUSTON -- Hurricane Ike, a massive storm nearly as big as the state of Texas, began hitting the coast today.

But even as towering waves started crashing over the 17-foot Galveston seawall and floodwaters rose in low-lying areas, it became clear that many of the 1 million coastal residents who had been ordered to get out refused to so and were taking their chances.

Authorities in three counties alone said roughly 90,000 stayed behind, despite a warning from forecasters that many of those in one- or two-story homes faced "certain death."

At about 600 miles across, the hurricane was a monster, taking up almost the entire northern half of the Gulf of Mexico. As it zeroed in on the coast, it trapped 60 people who had to be rescued from the floodwaters near Galveston by helicopter, breached levees in rural Louisiana, and tossed around a disabled 584-foot cargo ship in the Gulf.


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