HOUSTON --- Texas Gov. Rick Perry is urging residents to finish storm preparations as Hurricane Ike approaches, and authorities are trying to avoid the level of traffic gridlock seen just before Hurricane Rita hit three years ago. However, the Associated Press reported that traffic is stacked bumper to bumper on one freeway leading away from Galveston County and into the Houston metropolitan area.

Perry told reporters Thursday that Ike is a gigantic storm and that 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 mph before it comes ashore. Hurricane warnings are in effect from the Louisiana coast to Morgan City, the Associated Press reported.

Only eight zip codes in low-lying areas and near Galveston Bay are under mandatory evacuation orders.