Storm costs still being calculated
Hurricane Ike's estimated damage toll could be as high as $22 billion, making it the third costliest hurricane on record, behind Katrina and Andrew, according to National Geographic Magazine.
Nueces County officials haven't tallied the final tab for Hurricane Ike's landfall in the Coastal Bend Area, but Port Aransas will be considered a part of the entire picture.
"We don't have a handle on the cost yet, but it is significant at $600,000 and counting, maybe even double that," said Chuck Cazales, Nueces County Commissioner, Pct. 4.
Cazales said I.B. Magee Jr. Beach Park had some damage, but the jetties provided protection against the storm surge.
Port Aransas City Manager Michael Kovacs said Texas Department of Public Safety public assistance officer Greg Bosko visited the city recently, and is compiling damage costs for the entire county, which includes Corpus Christi.
Bosko is working in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to calculate the cost of the storm to various communities along the Texas coast.
"The damage cost in Port Aransas is shy of $200,000. We spent $80,000 when the city responded to Hurricane Ike's approach and FEMA will cover that. For post-storm cost, we will get word this week," Kovacs said.
Kovacs said the entire county must sustain in excess of $1 million in damages to be eligible for FEMA reimbursement, but he said the area likely will make that threshold. "The city's citizens feel especially blessed to be spared much of the burden from Hurricane Ike, with the city only estimated to spend nearly $200,000 in its response and recovery operations," Kovacs said.
"While prosperous, the city focuses on emergency preparedness and the ability to make as rapid a recovery as possible for the eventual landfall of a major hurricane on this beach-city paradise," he said.
Cazales said Hurricane Ike made landfall 200 miles away, and there was no wind or rain in this area.
"We had 5-1/2 feet of water rise close to Bob Hall Pier to a little less rise of water closer to Port Aransas. The power of the waves and the water knocked 1,300 pound floor panels loose at Bob Hall Pier and Horace Caldwell Pier," Cazales said.
"Debris is still coming in from the Gulf of Mexico, and people are fishing and swimming. I have issued a caution to people to wear shoes; we don't know what is on the floor of the water until it all gets washed in," he said.