First off, a look at the most recent storm track map has Ike north of Huntsville - maybe up to Crockett (as near as I can tell) - and continuing on it's projected path in the general direction of Mt. Vernon, TX, at which point it's expected to hook right and head for Hoosierland (see this page for a map by counties of E. Texas). So, pretty much as expected there.
I've gone through a couple hurricanes before (one of them aboard the old USS Midway in 1972 - that one right through the worst effects of a major typhoon in the relatively shallow waters off the coast of some SE Asian country). My point being that I do have some personal experience with extreme weather. As Ike approaches the wind speed should increase, but as the storm continues to transit land it's overall severity should continue to decrease. It's a tough judgement call, but I'm beginning to suspect that sustained winds in the 50 to 60 mph range are the most likely possibility for us in the Tyler area. There is, of course, this brief National Hurricane Center guidance to counter any urge toward relaxation:
ALTHOUGH IKE IS SPINNING DOWN AS A HURRICANE IN TERMS OF MAXIMUM WINDS…UNFORTUNATELY…ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS WILL GRADUALLY BECOME MORE FAVORABLE FOR TORNADOES TO DEVELOP ACROSS MUCH OF EASTERN TEXAS…WESTERN LOUISIANA…AND ARKANSAS THROUGH TONIGHT. LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL WILL ALSO BE A THREAT…AS WILL CONTINUED HIGHER THAN NORMAL TIDE LEVELS ALONG MUCH OF THE WESTERN LOUISIANA AND UPPER TEXAS COASTAL AREAS THROUGH AT LEAST THIS AFTERNOON.
It's beginning to feel like an old Morton Salt ad around here.
As you can also no doubt tell, TXU has been doing a sterling job so far also. And on that note, I will post this and update later in the evening.
Update: It is now later. Looking at the most recent storm track map it seems Ike weakened even faster than anticipated which, I speculate, caused it to veer East earlier than anticipated. In the event, the storm passed to the East of Tyler rather than to the West which caused the windblown rain to quarter around the sky quite rapidly. Within the space of perhaps 45 minutes the rain went from a strong ESE direction to virtually due West. Fortunately the wind velocity dropped along with the directional change so electricity wasn't effected for more than a couple of brief occasions during the afternoon.
In any case, the storm front is well past Tyler and, at this point, I'm not at all certain Tam and Roberta X will even notice Ike's arrival in their neighborhood late tomorrow afternoon or early evening.