Looking Back: 10 Things to Know About Hurricane Ike
What to know about the 2008 hurricane that struck the Caribbean and America’s southern coast.
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Ike's Lifespan and Reach
Lasting from September 1-14, 2008, Hurricane Ike caused extensive damage and many deaths across portions of the Caribbean and along the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. It reached its peak intensity as a Category 4 hurricane over the open waters of the central Atlantic, directly impacting the Turks and Caicos Islands and Great Inagua Island in the southeastern Bahamas before affecting much of Cuba. Then, with its associated storm surge, Ike caused extensive damage across parts of the northwestern Gulf Coast when it made landfall along the upper coast of Texas.
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A total of 29 tornadoes were reported in association with Ike in the United States. No deaths were reported from the tornadoes.
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Over 100 Direct Deaths
Ike is directly responsible for 103 deaths across Hispaniola, Cuba, and parts of the United States Gulf Coast.
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Residential Damage: Turks & Caicos
In Turks & Caicos, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency estimates that 95% of the houses on Grand Turk were damaged, 20% of which sustained significant damage. Ninety-five percent of the houses on South Caicos were damaged (with over one-third significantly damaged or destroyed).
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How Flamingoes Weathered the Storm
On Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas, a few West Indian flamingos were killed by Ike, but most of the 50,000 flamingos in Inagua National Park—the world’s largest breeding colony—survived by taking shelter within the park’s mangroves or flying to other islands.
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Massive Damage in Cuba
Ike damaged 323,800 homes in Cuba, of which about 43,000 were a total loss, mainly in the provinces of Holguín, Las Tunas, Camagüey, Villa Clara, Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Pinar del Rio, and the Isle of Youth. In advance of the hurricane, about 2.6 million people were evacuated, or about 23% of the entire Cuban population. Due to the massive evacuations and preparations, only seven direct deaths were reported due to falling structures and drowning.
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As many as 64 additional indirect deaths were reported in Texas due to factors such as electrocution, carbon monoxide poisoning, and pre-existing medical complications.
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The Property Claim Services of the Insurance Services Office estimates that the insured damage (not including inland flooding or storm surge) from Ike in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas is about $12.5 billion dollars.
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Damage in the Ohio Valley
Although Ike became extratropical while moving northward over Arkansas, its remnants caused several deaths and produced significant wind damage across the Ohio Valley. At least 28 direct and indirect deaths were reported in Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. In Ohio, almost 2.6 million people lost power with the most extensive damage reported in the areas near Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton.
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Power Outages in Canada
High winds and record rainfall were reported across portions of southern Ontario and Québec from the remnants of Ike. Downed power lines and tree branches in these areas left at least 50,000 customers without power, and high humidity associated with the system caused an electrical malfunction on one of the lines of the Montréal subway system, stranding commuters.