Port of Houston Closes for Ike

HOUSTON (AP) - The Port of Houston will shut down operations this afternoon as Hurricane Ike thunders toward the upper Texas Gulf Coast.  Officials say the nation's second largest port will remain closed until Monday.

The oil and gas industry also watched the storm closely, fearing damage to the very heart of its operations. Dow Chemical is shutting down its enormous Freeport complex, which is home to 75 plants producing some 27 billion pounds of chemical or chemical products each year. It's also closing its 139-acre La Porte plant.

That's as Texas Governor Rick Perry is urging residents to finish storm preparations ahead of the very dangerous storm. He told reporters today that Ike is a gigantic storm, and says he "cannot overestimate the danger that is facing us."

Ike is expected to become at least a Category 3 storm with winds upward of 111 miles per hour before it comes ashore. Hurricane warnings are in effect from Morgan City, Louisiana, to Baffin Bay, near Kingsville, Texas.