If you have any doubt about how dangerous Hurricane Ike is likely to be, I've got some pictures for you. These pictures were taken within the past two hours, on the shoreline along the grounds of Naval Air Station Pensacola.
This is a sheltered shoreline, protected by both barrier islands and sandbars, and typical wave heights run under one foot. Currently, they're running at about 3 feet, on top of a water level that looks to be at least 3-5 feet above where it should be. So far, this storm has done more to reshape the beaches I looked at than Gustav did, and Gustav came closer and was moving toward us.
The conditions I was looking at were taking place at a time when the storm center was more than 350 miles to the south, and moving more or less parallel to the shoreline. This storm is moving a hell of a lot of water around. You do not want to be in front of it. If you've been told to get out of the way, get out of the way.
The pictures can be found below the fold.
The first two pictures were taken near the same spot. Both were taken at a similar point in the tide cycle - after high tide, but closer to high tide than low. The first was taken last month, and the second this afternoon.
The water you can see behind the fence in the next picture is not normally there. It's also not the result of rainfall - we haven't had that much in the last few days. It was forced up through the storm drain shown in the last image.
Remember - these are not the results of a direct hit, or anything remotely close to a direct hit. This water is being pushed by a storm that isn't going to come within 300 miles of us, and isn't moving toward us. One look at this was more than enough to convince me that I do not want to be anywhere near the front of this storm when it makes landfall.