Back to back: A look at 2008 hurricanes Gustav and Ike

Posted at 10:32 PM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 23:32:21-04

We say just one tropical system can have a major impact. In 2008, Acadiana took on two hurricanes within a couple of weeks.

One a direct hit with mainly wind and rainfall, the other an indirect hit with record storm surge flooding. 

Labor Day weekend was coming fast, but instead of barbeque’s, Acadiana was fleeing from Gustav.

After brief visits to Haiti and Jamaica, it strengthened to a near Category 5 hurricane and made landfall over western Cuba on August 30th.

As it moved into the Gulf of Mexico, Gustav maintained decent strength prompting hundreds of thousands to evacuate, including a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, the first since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Gustav struggled to maintain strength but still made landfall at Cocodrie as a modest category 2 hurricane with winds of 105 mph. As the storm moved northwestward, it weakened, but wind gusts up to 77 mph were recorded in Lafayette, and over 80mph in Abbeville. Wind damage was widespread, but the surge was concentrated to southeast Louisiana.

The same day Gustav made landfall, another system started brewing in the Atlantic. Eventually this would become Hurricane Ike.

Ike would strengthen to Category 4 before reaching Cuba.

Ike was disrupted after traveling over the majority of Cuba from east to west. Ike did restrengthen to a strong Category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 mph.

The structure and widespread wind field produced record storm surge flooding. Ike brought water over almost every inch of Cameron Parish with water reaching as far north as Lake Charles. Flooding over Vermilion and Iberia was similar or greater than Rita just three years earlier.

In Texas, the Bolivar Peninsula was flattened by storm surge over 17 feet. Even with mass evacuations, Ike claimed over 100 lives in the United States and still ranks as the 6th costliest hurricane making landfall in the United States.