On September 13, 2008, Ike came ashore near Galveston as a strong Category 2 hurricane.  Sustained winds were recorded at 110 mph with gusts to 130 mph.  However, it was the storm surge that topped over 20 feet that caused most of the devastation and loss of life around Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula.

84 deaths were attributed to Ike.  The hurricane's estimated damage had a price tag of $30 billion.  Many of the beachfront homes on Crystal Beach were reduced to rubble and slabs.

The upper Texas coastline is no stranger to tropical storms and hurricanes. Sometimes it's the downpours or sometimes it's the powerful winds that bring the most danger.  But, when the storm surge starts getting into double digits, the areas outside the unprotected seawall of Galveston are susceptible to what happened during Hurricane Ike.

You can't control the weather.  You can try to build stronger structures to stand up against the wind.  You can try to do a better job of channeling the flood waters through better levees and drainage.  But, what can be done about catastrophic storm surges?

After the devastation of the Hurricane of 1900, engineers devised a plan to build a 17-foot seawall to protect the island from a repeat of this fate.  That 10-mile-long seawall has done its job, but with a 20+ surge, like the one from Hurricane Ike, it looks like more needs to be done, especially for those around Galveston who are outside that seawall protection.

Enter the doctors, professors, and researchers from Texas A&M - Galveston. For years, they have been devising a plan that includes a series of gates, walls, and artificial islands that would greatly reduce the impact of future storm surges. It has been nicknamed the 'Ike Dike'. As you might expect, it comes with a major price tag ($30 billion or more), major roadblocks, and it would take a generation to complete.

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure to move forward with this Ike Dike project and to have the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers start the planning stages.  However, the exact source of all the funding is still up in the air.

The Ike Dike would be an engineering marvel, and it would change the look of the upper Texas coastline.  Take a look at this YouTube video to better understand how it would work.

 

Damage from Hurricane Ike

A look back at the damage along Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula from Hurricane Ike. The storm was a category 2 hurricane that brought damages in excess of $30 billion. All pictures are from Getty Images.