Aug. 25 (UPI) — Hurricane Harvey made landfall near the city of Corpus Christi, Texas, Friday night as a Category 4 storm, the National Hurricane Center said.
In its 10 p.m. advisory update, the NHC said the eye of the storm came ashore between the cities of Port Aransas and Port O’Connor packing 130 mph winds.
The agency says Category 4 hurricanes can cause “catastrophic damage.” Though the eye of the hurricane has yet to make landfall, the NHC said hurricane-force winds were “arriving soon.”
The National Weather Service in Corpus Christi “is advising their counties near the hurricane eye to brace as if a tornado was approaching.”
“Winds 115 to 145 mph. Take cover now!” the NWS said in a tweet.
The hurricane is growing stronger as it travels northwesterly in the Gulf of Mexico at 7 mph. The NWS said the eye of the storm is expected to make landfall Friday night. Its forward momentum should slow down upon reaching shore, the NHC said.
A hurricane warning was in effect from Port Mansfield to Sargent along the Texas coast. There also was a tropical storm warning north of Sargent to High Island. Additionally, a storm surge warning was in effect for Port Mansfield to High Island.
The NHC discontinued a tropical storm warning and storm surge watch south of Port Mansfield. The Mexican government discontinued a tropical storm watch north of Boca de Catan.
The wind-field, or area expected to be affected by the hurricane, has expanded, so a storm surge is projected over most of the upper Texas coastline. Notice of a possible storm surge indicates the possibility of a life-threatening inundation of rising water.
“Catastrophic flooding expected due to heavy rainfall and storm surge,” the NHC said Friday evening.
The cautions from the NHC indicate that Harvey, assuming the hurricane makes landfall, is expected to bring a total of 15 to 30 inches of rain to the Texas coast between Friday and Wednesday, with up to 40 inches of rain in isolated areas. Rainfall will also affect Louisiana and Mississippi, and bring “devastating and life-threatening conditions.”
Harvey, viewed from the International Space Station, showed a large swirl of clouds in the Gulf of Mexico — clearly visible from tens of thousands of miles away.
The NHC also said tornadoes are possible Friday across portions of the middle and upper Texas coast.
Forecasters said the storm could also generate swells with potentially life-threatening surf and rip current conditions in the Texas, Louisiana and northeast Mexico coasts Friday.
Harvey is the first hurricane to make landfall in Texas since 2008.
This pass is the second go-around for Harvey, which arrived in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this week. It turned into a tropical storm, dissipated, and then re-strengthened over the warm waters of the gulf, meteorologists said.
Oil and gas companies working in the Gulf of Mexico have reduced production and personnel, and area airports have issued travel advisories through Sunday. School districts have cancelled classes and weekend activities, and Houston’s public school district cancelled Monday’s planned return to class.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday that he is in contact with President Donald Trump and the chiefs of Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency about the government response to the hurricane.