Hurricane Ike passed over the Houston, Tex., metropolitan area during the early morning of 13 September 2008. Although Ike had been rated only a category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson scale at landfall near Galveston, Tex., the storm's widespread damage to urban trees, many lacking proper trimming, knocked out the area's power distribution system; for some customers, power was only restored a month later.
The hurricane's path after landfall (Figure 1a) went north through Galveston Bay and Baytown. The city of Houston–with its economically important ship channel–experienced the less severe western eye wall, the tight circulation with maximum wind speeds around the hurricane's center. The eye's passage was recorded between 3:00 and 4:30 A.M. Central Standard Time (CST; Figures 1a and 1c). It had maintained its unusually large diameter of 35–40 kilometers in its first hours after landfall.
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