Hurricane Ike was the ninth named storm, fifth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. Ike was the second most costly natural disaster in United States history, behind Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Ike developed in the central Atlantic on September 1 from a well-defined tropical wave. Ike impacted a small portion of the Bahamas as a Category 4, and subsequently impacted nearly the entire length of Cuba, and then finally made its final landfall along the upper Texas coast near Galveston as a strong Category 2.

Ike killed 103 people directly, and 92 indirectly. It also caused $37.6 billion (2008 USD) in damage.

Ike at peak intensity
FormationSeptember 1, 2008
Dissipation September 14, 2008
Highest winds 145 mph
Lowest pressure 935 mbar
Deaths 103 direct, 92 indirect, 34 missing
Damages $37.6 billion (2008 USD)
Areas affectedTurks and Caicos, Bahamas, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Florida Keys, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley, Great Lakes region, eastern Canada
Part of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season

Meteorological history


The genesis of Ike appears to have been initiated by a well-defined tropical wave that left the coast of Africa on August 28. Early the next day, the wave had already developed an area of low pressure and generated intermittent convective bursts on August 29 and 30 while passing south of the Cape Verde Islands. The wave initially struggled to significantly organize, but by 0600 UTC September 1, it was organized enough to be designated Tropical Depression Nine while 675 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands and 1400 miles east of the Leeward Islands. By 1200 UTC that same day, the depression became a tropical storm. Ike gradually intensified as it moved west-northwestward over the deep tropical Atlantic. Initially, Ike was embedded within an environment of dry air, which prevented significant strengthening. By 1200 UTC September 3, however, Ike had begun to wrap bands of convection around its circulation center and by 1800 UTC, an eye became apparent on satellite imagery. Consequently, Ike was upgraded to a hurricane while located about 600 miles east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands. During this time, a trough over the northwestern Atlantic Ocean weakened the subtropical ridge and Ike responded by moving west-northwest. The western side of the trough slightly restricted Ike's outflow in the northern quadrant. Ike underwent rapid intensification starting at 0600 UTC September 3 and ending at 0600 UTC September 4, going from a 65 mph tropical storm to a 145 mph Category 4 hurricane. Shortly after peaking, a ridge to the north of the hurricane began to strengthen, generating strong northerly shear over Ike, which caused the cloud pattern to become asymmetric. The aforementioned high continued to produce relentless north to northeasterly vertical shear over the system, and consequently, Ike weakened to a 110 mph Category 2 by 1200 UTC September 6, with microwave satellite imagery at that time indicating that much of Ike's deep convection over the northern quadrant was largely disrupted, including the northern eye-wall, though the eye remained distinct.

Late on September 4, Ike turned to the west due to a strengthening ridge to the north of the hurricane over the western Atlantic Ocean. By 0000 UTC September 6, Ike began moving to the west-southwest. Early on September 6, vertical shearing began to relax over the hurricane as it was approaching the Turks and Caicos Islands. Ike subsequently regained Category 4 status by 1800 UTC that day due to the relaxation of the shear. Though Ike remained just to the south of the Turks and Caicos Islands at 0600 UTC September 7, its northern eye-wall passed directly over Grand Turk, Salt Cay, South Caicos, along with a few additional small cays. Ike weakened slightly to a 130 mph Category 3 before making landfall on Great Inagua Island around 1300 UTC that same day. After landfall, Ike continued to slightly weaken, though this proved to be merely temporarily, and Ike regained Category 4 status by 0000 UTC September 8. Two hours later, Ike made landfall near Cabo Lucrecia, Cuba at that intensity. Ike traversed a large section of the Cuban landmass before emerging into the northwestern Caribbean Sea around 1500 UTC September 8, its winds down considerably, to 85 mph. Ike moved westward for the next day or so, paralleling the southern coast of Cuba as a Category 1 hurricane. Around 1400 UTC September 9, Ike made a second Cuban landfall, this time near Punta La Capitana and by 2030 UTC, Ike emerged into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. Ike's inner core was severely disrupted by passage over Cuba, and as a result, its wind field began to expand. On September 10, Ike began moving slowly northwestward across the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and subsequently underwent an eye-wall replacement cycle. This likely prevented rapid intensification of the hurricane, and consequently, its winds only increased to 100 mph by 1800 UTC September 10.

Late on September 10, the subtropical ridge restrengthened to the north of Ike, and steered the hurricane to the west-northwest. By 1800 UTC September 11, the outer core of Ike had become dominant, and the inner core consequently weakened. Ike continued west-northwest, failing to significantly intensify largely due to its disrupted inner core from passage over Cuba. Late on September 12, Ike rounded the western periphery of the subtropical ridge, and turned to the northwest toward the upper Texas coast. In the final hours before landfall, both reconnaissance aircraft and microwave satellite imagery indicate that Ike had developed a 40 mile wide eye, and its winds increased to 110 mph, just shy of Category 3 status. Ike turned north-northwest and made landfall near Galveston, Texas at around 0700 UTC September 13. After landfall, Ike continued northward, weakening to a tropical storm by 1800 UTC September 13 while located just east of Palestine, Texas. Around 1200 UTC September 14, Ike became extra-tropical as it interacted with a frontal zone while moving northeastern through northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. Ike's extra-tropical remnants remained quite vigorous and continued moving to the northeast, producing hurricane force winds across the Ohio Valley on September 14. Subsequently, Ike's extra-tropical remnants weakened and moved across southern Ontario and southern Quebec and eventually became absorbed by another extra-tropical cyclone near the Gulf of St. Lawrence by 1800 UTC September 15.

101 0920

Damage from Ike to a boardwalk in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

101 0926

underneath the destroyed boardwalk.

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