By Saturday afternoon, Hurricane Ike had been downgraded to a tropical storm, but not before unleashing its full force on Galveston and Houston, Texas, along with coastal Louisiana. Both states were dealing with widespread power outages in Ike’s wake, and the extent of the damage couldn’t be fully assessed until flooding subsided and debris was cleared.


President Bush declared 29 Texas counties a major disaster area, making federal funds available for recovery from the storm, which has been blamed for four deaths in Texas.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s office announced what it called the largest search-and-rescue operation ever mounted in the state. Lines of National Guard trucks and ambulances were coming in from San Antonio.

In Galveston, which bore the brunt of the storm, floods filled the historic district with 7 feet of water at the storm’s peak, said Galveston County official Margaret Bunch.

A foot of water flooded the city’s main courthouse, where many people rode out the storm, she said.

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