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Hurricane Ike could alter Friday plans

Hurricane Ike could alter Friday plans

HOUSTON -- The Astros have been out of town during most weather-related disasters that have either hit or threatened to hit the Houston area, but such is not the case this time, as Hurricane Ike gets closer to the Bayou City.

Ike has been predicted to hit Houston as early as late Friday night, although originally, the hurricane wasn't supposed to get here until Saturday morning.

The Astros host the Cubs this weekend, and the Astros are considering moving Friday's opener from a 7:05 p.m. CT start time to 1:05 p.m.

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A final decision will be made on Thursday.

"The Houston Astros are continuing to monitor the projections and path of Hurricane Ike and are in close contact with the Office of Emergency Management," said club president of business operations Pam Gardner, in a statement. "We are considering all of our potential options, and there is a possibility that our game against the Chicago Cubs Friday evening (Sept. 12) may be moved to a 1:05 p.m. start, relative to how the storm is progressing toward the Houston area.

"There will be a decision made [Thursday] with regards to Friday's game after continued consultation with the Office of Emergency Management. The safety and well-being of our fans and both teams involved is always our primary concern."

The Astros will also have to solidify a contingency plan in case the hurricane arrives as scheduled on Saturday. The Astros have a 6:05 p.m. start time planned that night, and while Minute Maid Park is protected by a roof, problems could arise if players, officials and fans cannot safely travel to and from the stadium.

"We'll wait on Saturday at this point," general manager Ed Wade said. "We'll take our cues from officials. It's too early to make a definitive determination as to what Friday's going to present to us.

"We're going to do everything we can to make sure we're not putting our fans in jeopardy; at the same time, we don't want to make a premature decision that impacts an opportunity for our fans to see what we hope is a pretty good three-game series against the Cubs. Saturday is Saturday, and it's more a case of Friday right now."

Ike strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane with 100-mph winds on Wednesday and is expected to be at least a Category 3 by the time it hits landfall.

Emergency officials warned that a Category 4 storm, with winds of at least 131 mph, could cause a storm surge of 18 feet in Matagorda Bay and four to eight feet in Galveston Bay. The surge in Galveston Bay could push floodwaters into Houston.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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