CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The National Hurricane Center is calling Hurricane Harvey life-threatening and said its track may keep it strong and kicking longer than they previously thought, into early next week.
Winds of 125 mph (201 kph) are expected, bringing life-threatening and devastating flooding from heavy rainfall and storm surge, which is an abnormal rise of water above the normal tide.
The center said Thursday afternoon that Harvey is expected to become a major hurricane by Friday before it reaches the middle Texas coast.
Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen says, “We’re forecasting continuing intensification right up until landfall.”
The hurricane is expected to make landfall in Texas on Friday night or early Saturday, then stall near the middle Texas coast through the weekend.
It’s expected to produce up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) of rain and up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain in isolated areas over the middle and upper Texas coast through early next week.
The mayor of Corpus Christi is encouraging evacuations. In response, Driscoll Children’s Hospital will evacuate ten of its sickest and smallest patients to safety at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth.
The storm is churning off to the north/northwest and is on track to make landfall by very early Saturday morning, somewhere in the Corpus Christi area.
Harvey will then slowly wander around the coast throughout the entire coming weekend before slowly moving east toward Louisiana by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.
A few impacts to consider with Harvey:
- Hurricane-force wind gusts along the coast from Corpus Christi to Victoria and Port Lavaca (80-100 mph winds)
- Storm surge along a good portion of the Texas coast of 4-8 feet
- Widespread heavy rainfall across southeast Texas, 10-15 inches with some spots of more than 25 inches
This is looking more and more like a very significant storm for Texas — possibly as powerful as Ike, which hit back in 2008. There is also a comparison to Tropical Storm Allison which hit the Houston area in 2001 and caused catastrophic flooding. No two storms are alike, but if those two are your analogs, it is not good news.
It is still too early to know exactly where the eye of Harvey will hit, or where the heaviest of the rain bands set up, but we should all remember not to just concentrate on where the eye ends up, because this will have widespread impacts across most of southeast Texas.
At this time, it appears as though most if not all of the rain will stay south of the DFW area. The southern counties of North Texas may see 2-4 inches of rain (Palestine, Fairfield, Corsicana), but that will pale in comparison to the coast. If Harvey drifts a little farther north, there could be more rain closer to DFW, but that solution is not seen as likely.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)