DALLAS - Just two months after winning an upgrade from Standard & Poor's for its growing tax base and sound management, Galveston, Tex., last September faced the onslaught of Hurricane Ike, an event some compare to the 1900 storm that leveled the city.

Though not as deadly as the 1900 hurricane, Ike could prove even more costly because its storm surge flooded 75% of the island's housing, closed businesses and schools and, at least temporarily, reduced the city's 60,000 population by a third. Some of the tax base literally washed out to sea, eliminating lots that once held traditional beach homes.

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