New Orleans will be affected by Harvey as its drainage system will be beyond capacity, while Texas residents are doing what they can to survive the hurricane.
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The time for dire warnings, how Hurricane Harvey, is life-threatening and could cause catastrophic damage, is over.
The National Hurricane Center says the eye of Hurricane Harvey has come ashore on the Texas coast.
The reality is the Category 4 storm is pounding the Texas coast and its millions of residents with hurricane-force winds knocking down trees, power poles and signs, and with torrential rain deluging streets.
The hurricane center warns that some areas will see as much as 13 feet of storm surge and large, destructive waves. Maximum sustained wind speeds were at 130 mph on Friday night.
And there’s the rain that the slow-moving storm is expected to produce. Because it is expected to come to a near halt inland, Harvey could drop as much as 40 inches of rain in some places, and up to 30 inches in others, by Wednesday.
The combination of wind and water could leave wide swaths of South Texas “uninhabitable for weeks or months,” the National Weather Service in Houston said.
Such daunting language hasn’t been seen by CNN’s experts since Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.
The threat has prompted officials in at least one town to ask residents who stay behind to write their Social Security numbers on one of their arms in case. It will make identifying bodies easier.
The center of the storm was about 10 miles from Port Aransas, which has been battered by the slow-moving storm all day. It appears it will come ashore on San Jose Island soon.
“Texas is about to have a very significant disaster,” said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Gov. Greg Abbott warned of record-setting flooding and called on people to flee the area before the storm hits.
“My top goal is to be able to make it through this storm in a way in which we lose no lives,” Abbott said. “Put your life first and your property second.”
Residents were urged to evacuate. A mass exodus from the coast caused extensive traffic jams along the state’s highways, while other people boarded up windows and stocked up on food and water ahead of the storm, the effects of which are expected to last for days.
The storm will stall and dump rain on South Texas and parts of Louisiana into the middle of next week, forecasters predicted.
— Rockport, Texas, officials are advising residents who refuse to evacuate to write their names and Social Security number on a forearm, Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Rios told CNN. Rios said it will “help out first responders should they find a body.”
— The NWS in Corpus Christi issued an extreme wind warning for portions of the coast through 7 p.m. in Texas. “Widespread destructive winds of 115 to 145 mph will produce swaths of tornado-like damage,” the agency said.
— Texas’ governor requested additional federal help with a presidential disaster declaration. The White House is considering the declaration.
— The White House said President Donald Trump plans to visit Texas next week.
FEMA prepared for ‘significant disaster’
Those who stay should “elevate and get into a structure that can withstand potentially Category 3 winds from a hurricane,” said Long, the FEMA director.
“The bottom line message is, right now, if people have not heeded the warning, again, their window to do so is closing,” Long said. “If they refuse to heed the warning, that’s on them.”
Long said he is “very worried” about storm surge, or “wind-driven water,” slamming coastal areas, saying it has the “highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most amount of damage.”
Trump tweeted that he has spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana, saying he is “closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey developments and here to assist as needed.”
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Article Courtesy of CNN and WJW Fox 8 News Cleveland
Picture Courtesy of Marie LaFauci and Getty Images