Hurricane Ike surely beats Gustav hands down – In Texas eight people are dead, over a million people have no power, thousands of homes have been destroyed seeing billions of dollars worth of damage — the oil rigs ain’t looking good — and then there’s some dude dancing on a Galveston beach in a bear suit??

Hurricane causes extensive damage in Texas, strands thousands. With wind gusts approaching 100 miles an hour, or 160 kilometers an hour, Ike, a 600-mile-wide Category 2 hurricane, peeled sheets of steel off skyscrapers in Houston, smashed bus shelters and blew out windows, sending shattered glass and debris across the nation’s fourth-largest city, with a population of 2.2 million. — International Herald Tribune

Ike Pounds Texas. 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. — Washington Post Photo Gallery 

Effects of Hurricane Ike on oil and gas markets. Essentially all of the 1.3 million barrels per day of U.S. crude oil production from the Gulf of Mexico (which accounts for about a quarter of total U.S. production) has been shut in as a result of the storm. When the same thing happened 3 years ago with Hurricane Katrina, the effects turned out to be surprisingly long-lived. Damage to offshore rigs proved costly to repair, and in some cases due to field depletion the platforms were abandoned rather than repaired. We will have to wait for an assessment of how extensive the damage will be this time around. The absence of a significant spike up in oil prices at the end of last week suggests that many market participants were not so worried this time. — Econbrowser

Everybody’s Looking for Some Higher Ground, a Report from Fort Bend County. Some folks jumped right on clearing up the debris in their yards, and tried to prop up the fencing – others just went wow and headed for their coolers. In the great scheme of things, who can tell who was closer to God? — Houston Press

Tropical Weather -Blogging Live with the Chronicle Staff. Hurricane Ike knocked out power to nearly every customer in Liberty County, said Tom Branch, the county’s emergency management director. Branch said there is widespread damage to buildings. “People say this is 10 times worse than Rita,” Branch said today. Branch said no fatalities have been reported but there have been several minor injuries, caused mainly by falling trees and limbs. “We are in the recovery phase right now,” he said. — Houston Chronicle

Halfway There… We are close to the eye itself now. Not only does the radar show such, but everyone here almost at the same time commented about our ears popping (similar to the sensation on an airplane). I assume thats because of the low pressure in the eye of the storm. I had always heard the weather guys refer to the pressure dropping, but had no idea we’ d’ actually physically feel it. — Texas Rainmaker

Hurricane Ike. Troy Burwell’s photostream. — Flickr

Hurricane Ike Massive Damage In Texas. — YouTube