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Ike Roars Through Gulf Coast

Hurricane Ike pulverized the Gulf Coast with maximum winds of about 100 mph and left a wide swath of flooding and devastation in its wake.

With water disruptions around the area, Houston Mayor Bill White, speaking in English and Spanish, advised residents to conserve water when they could and to use bottled water or boil water before drinking it. Damage to the city's water system left large areas with no water pressure from the taps.

Johnson Space Center said its computers were still up and running, and officials said there should be no disruption in communications with the international space station.

Local media reported some damage to Ellington Field, a former Air Force base where several hangars were said to have been damaged or destroyed by the high winds.

Houston is also home to more than a fifth of the nation's fuel-refining operations and 25 percent of crude oil production. There were concerns that a disruption to oil supplies, or damage to rigs or refineries, could lead to a spike in oil prices.

While damage reports from Texas were not expected until Sunday, preliminary indications were that the combination of Hurricane Gustav on Sept. 1 and Ike 12 days later delivered a much weaker blow than the one-two punch of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which landed within 22 days in 2005 and cut U.S. energy production for months.

During a morning conference call, pipeline operators reported that Louisiana refiners expected to be able to make deliveries "in the pretty near future," said Kevin P. Kolevar, assistant secretary of energy for electricity delivery and energy reliability. "We're starting to get good news in from these refineries. . . . It does not appear Ike impeded the recovery in the lower Louisiana area," he said.

"We're going to have to see about Texas," he added.

Richburg reported from Houston, Achenbach from Galveston and Hsu from Washington.


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