The National Weather Service is now reporting that Hurricane Ike has weakened to a tropical storm:
Click here to read the report.
Although the storm is moving north, the NWS has issued a wind watch and flood warning for the Galveston area with winds expected to stay between 20 and 30 MPH until later this evening.
Emergency crews have begun the recovery efforts in Galveston, but are waiting until the waters subside to fully assess the damage caused by the hurricane.
The Houston Chronicle reports on the aftermath of the hurricane in Galveston:
Ike scoured the city’s seawall, demolishing landmarks including the Balinese Room, a historic nightclub and one-time gambling establishment dating to the 1940s. Also destroyed were Murdoch’s Pier and a Hooters restaurant, the latter said to have crashed into the sea at 1 a.m. with an explosive roar.
Galveston officials today worried about the fate of about 23,000 people who ignored a mandatory evacuation order.
“We don’t know what we’re going to find,” said Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas. “We hope we’ll find that the people who didn’t leave here are alive and well.”