Ike aims for Cuba again, then south towards Texas

Hurricane Ike is expected to emerge into the Gulf of Mexico sometime late Tuesday and could restrengthen into a major hurricane before making landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast.

Right now Texas seems like the most likely landfall, but people all along the U.S. Gulf Coast are watching and getting ready.

Much farther south, Key West Florida is getting some of Ikes outer bands.

Residents are being told to stay inside and anyone who evacuated to stay away until the storm passes.

But there is a sense Ike spared this island as it now heads toward the Gulf Coast.
Ike's first brush with the U.S. was just a glancing blow.

The wind and rain in Key West just a small preview of what the Gulf Coast may soon see.

Rough surf now surrounds the island.

Some streets are flooded and tropical storm force winds could still mean downed trees and power lines.

But even that is a relief here sparking celebration that things weren't much worse.
Officials hope residents who evacuated earlier in the week will be able to come home soon

"The first avail moment they can come back, we'll let them know. The first avail we want our residents back as soon as possible," said Key West City Manager, Jim Shoal.

But for residents of the Gulf Coast it is a much different story for them, evacuations may soon begin.

"We've been on the phone doing conference calls," said Francisco Sanchez Harris County, Texas office of emergency management.

As Ike now moves back over Cuba and emerges in the gulf it is forecast to restrengthen and for now appears to be taking aim at Texas.
Texas' governor has already made disaster declarations in 88 counties.
Ike's ultimate path still uncertain but what could be a massive storm, is leaving little doubt that now is the time to get ready.

Ike is forecast to move through the Gulf over the next few days and could make landfall sometime this weekend, but forecasters say everyone along the western Gulf Coast should stay vigilant as we have seen hurricane forecasting is difficult and tracks can change.