The mayor of Galveston Texas has ordered a mandatory evacuation of
Galveston Island as Hurricane Ike closes in on the Texast coast as a Category 2 storm.

Authorities in the Houston area are also ordering hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate ahead of Ike.

Forecasters expect the storm to make landfall this weekend
somewhere between Corpus Christi and Houston, creating the
potential for heavy punishment for Houston and nearby areas even if
it's not hit directly.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued Thursday morning for
low-lying areas in Harris County, where Houston is located.

Evacuation orders were also issued for Jefferson and Orange
counties, between Houston and the Louisiana state line.

Parts of Southeast Texas were also under mandatory evacuations when Hurricane Gustav approached.

The region suffered major damage during Hurricane Rita in September 2005.

In Alabama, some minor beach erosion on the Alabama
coast could occur through Saturday from Hurricane Ike's move into
Texas, but emergency officials do not expect heavy rainfall.

The National Weather Service in Mobile has extended a coastal
flood warning across the Mobile Bay until noon Saturday.

Tides could be up to five feet above normal, with gusty winds of
25 mph along the beaches and coastal areas.

Some roads were flooded on Dauphin Island. The causeway approach
to the island bridge was impassable Thursday morning because of
tidal conditions.

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