With Ike, Size Matters For Killer Storm Surge

Experts say Hurricane Ike

(AP Photo/NOAA)

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UNDATED (AP) -- Experts say Hurricane Ike's gargantuan size, not its strength, will likely push an extra large storm surge inland in a region already prone to it.

Ike's great girth means more water piling up on Texas and Louisiana coastal areas for a longer time, topped with bigger waves. Forecasters say storm surge, the prime killer in hurricanes, will be far worse than a typical storm of Ike's strength.

Experts say because coastal waters in Texas and Louisiana are so shallow, storm surge is usually larger there than in other regions.

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting a 20-foot surge for a large swath of Texas and the Louisiana coasts. Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen says some waves could be 50 feet tall.

Experts are trying to figure out when they've seen a storm this wide. Ike's tropical storm force winds stretch for more than 500 miles.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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