(CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Harvey has strengthened to a Category 4 storm and according to CBS11 Chief Meteorologist Anne Elise Parks, it could make landfall by 8:30 or just a bit after.
The center says Harvey has maximum wind speeds of 130 mph (193.11 kph) as the powerful storm churns off the Texas coast. Forecasters are labeling it a “life-threatening storm.”
The storm quickly grew Thursday from a tropical depression into a Category 1 hurricane, and then developed into a Category 2 storm early Friday. By Friday afternoon, it had become a Category 3 storm.
The slow-moving storm is fueled by warm Gulf of Mexico waters. Forecasters are labeling it a “life-threatening storm” with landfall predicted late Friday or early Saturday between Port O’Connor and Matagorda Bay, a 30-mile (48-kilometer) stretch of coastline about 70 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi.
Officials said they had no idea how many Corpus Christi residents heeded their urge to voluntary evacuate the city of 325,000 and nearby low-lying areas taking the brunt of the storm.
Nueces County spokesman Tyner Little said traffic inland “was not hugely heavy as we’ve seen with other hurricanes.”
He said the local sheriff said 90 percent of Port Aransas had left.
Nevertheless, Little said county officials were “kind of freaked out” because the hurricane was tracking closer to Corpus Christi than officials had expected.
Driving into the city on an empty interstate Friday evening, a reporter saw flames flaring from a half-dozen stacks, casting an eerie glow beneath scudding, slate gray hurricane clouds.
CBS11’s Jeff Paul is covering the storm in Galveston.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)