(8:00 p.m. EDT) -- The center of Hurricane Ike is located 100 miles southeast of Galveston and 105 miles south of Beaumont, Texas. Maximum winds have increased to 110 miles per hour, and though the storm is technically still a Category Two, it could strengthen to a Category Three before its center reaches the Texas coast. Water levels have already risen seven to nine feet above normal along the Gulf Coast, and flooding has begun in Texas and Louisiana. Because of the great size of the cyclone, storm surges and flooding are seen to be the biggest threats. We'll keep you posted throughout the weekend.
(12:39 p.m. EDT) -- Hurricane Ike may still be hundreds of miles off the coast of Texas, but parts of Galveston are already experiencing some flooding. The center of the storm is expected to make landfall late tonight or early Saturday.
The National Hurricane Center reported at 11 a.m. EDT that Ike was located about 295 miles east of Corpus Christi and 195 miles southeast of Galveston. Maximum winds have increased to 105 miles per hour, but the storm remains a Category Two hurricane. It is still possible that the storm will strengthen to a Category Three hurricane prior to making landfall.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered from the Louisiana border south to Corpus Christi. Storm surges of up to 25 feet may affect the Texas coastline and flooding has already begun. The path of the storm is being likened to a hurricane in 1900 that hit Galveston and killed thousands of people.
We'll keep you posted as the storm approaches Texas.
--by Erica Silverstein, Associate Editor
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