Harvey, now tropical storm, expected to hover for days

Aug. 26 (UPI) — Hurricane Harvey weakened into a tropical storm as it continued to move further inland from the Texas coast Saturday, but the National Hurricane Center said it’s becoming an “extremely serious flooding event.”

In its 2 p.m. advisory the National Hurricane Center said a storm surge warning remained in effect from Port Ransas to High Island and a tropical storm warning was in place from Baffin Bay to to High Island.

But, the center said it doesn’t expect the storm to move much more over the next few days. The eye of the storm at 2 p.m. was in between Victoria and San Antonio. Harvey’s speed had slowed to 2 mph, moving north-northwest.

At around 6 a.m. Harvey was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds. By midday, it was reclassified as a tropical storm with sustained 70 mph winds.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall near the city of Corpus Christi, Texas, Friday night as a Category 4 storm, the NHC 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.” The National Weather Service in Corpus Christi had advised “counties near the hurricane eye to brace as if a tornado was approaching.”

Harvey was the first hurricane that severe to make landfall anywhere in the continental United States since Hurricane Wilma hit Florida in October 2005.

It was also the first hurricane to make landfall in Texas since Ike in 2008.

Earlier in the week, 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.

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. They cautioned it was possible the storm could turn back out to the gulf and strengthen again.

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.

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