What if Hurricane Ian hit Houston? Damage from storms surge would be seen miles inland

Chaz Miller Image
Thursday, September 29, 2022
What if Hurricane Ian hit Houston? Damage from storms surge would be seen miles inland
ABC13 Chief Forecaster David Tillman explains what would happen if a hurricane like Ian were to hit the Houston area.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- What would happen if a storm the size of Hurricane Ian hit the Houston area instead of southwest Florida?

When it comes to storm surge, ABC13 Chief Forecaster David Tillman said the amount of damage would depend on the exact location of that hypothetical storm's landfall.

SEE MORE: Hurricane Ian live radar: Latest maps, projections, possible path after swamping Florida

"Let's take Hurricane Ike," Tillman said. "The eye of the system went right over the heart of Galveston Bay. It came in just east of Galveston Island."

He said storm-surge damage would have been dramatically different had Ike hit about 20 miles to the west.

"The ship channel and all of those communities on the west coast of Galveston Bay would have had major issues with high water from Hurricane Ike had it come in a little bit further west," Tillman said of the 2008 storm.

Tillman said the same would be true if a storm like Ian hit the area along a more westward landfall than Ike.

SEE RELATED: US House approves massive $31 billion 'Ike Dike' project to protect Texas coast from hurricanes

Those who live along the coast are fearful of storm damage, but hopeful a new proposal will help them stay safe during the next hurricane.

In fact, experts say Galveston will become more susceptible to storm-surge damage in the future due to a variety of factors. Tillman said houses that didn't take on water during Ike won't be so fortunate over the next 30 years.

"(It's due to) sea-level rise and sublimation, which is the sinking of the ground there by the coast," Tillman said.

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