Texas prepares for an ominous Hurricane Ike

HOUSTON (AP) -- Traffic on the roads leading away from Galveston County, Texas, is building as local residents scramble inland ahead of Hurricane Ike.

The evacuation is draining gas stations in the area. Authorities are hoping to avoid the traffic gridlock that happened three years ago when residents fled Hurricane Rita. Residents who don't live in low-lying areas and near Galveston Bay are being urged to "hunker down" and stay home.

Ike is due to crash ashore sometime this weekend. Forecasters say hurricane conditions could reach the Gulf Coast by late tomorrow. The storm is expected to be at least a Category 3 and could grow into a Category 4 by the time it makes landfall.

Texas Governor Rick Perry says he can't over-emphasize the danger that Ike poses to the state. He says it's going cause substantial damage and massive flooding.

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

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