Barely a tropical depression less than forty-eight hours ago, powerful Hurricane Harvey has turned into a category two monster as of early Friday morning – and is projected to grow even stronger prior to barreling into the Texas coast early Saturday.
Also the initial impact of this system – which is projected to be the strongest hurricane to make landfall in this country in over a decade – is only the beginning of the Lone Star State’s problems.
If weather patterns hold, Harvey would hover over the southeastern portion of the state for the better part of three days – dumping potentially historic amounts of rainfall on the area.
“Harvey is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 15 to 25 inches and isolated maximum amounts of 35 inches over the middle and upper Texas coast through next Wednesday,” the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida warned. “During the same time period Harvey is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 7 to 15 inches in far south Texas and the Texas Hill Country eastward through central and southwest Louisiana, with accumulations of up to 7 inches extending into other parts of Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley. Rainfall from Harvey will cause devastating and life-threatening flooding.”
Residents along the coast of Texas were urged to get moving …
“Preparations along the middle Texas coast should be rushed to completion this morning,” the advisory warned. “Conditions (are) expected to deteriorate through the day.”
Evacuations have been ordered for Brazoria, Calhoun, Jackson, Refugio, San Patricio and Victoria counties – as well as the cities of Portland, Rockport, Port Aransas, Aransas Pass, Ingleside and Robstown.
As of this writing, Harvey’s eye is located approximately 140 miles southeast of Corpus Christi. Hurricane-force winds extend outward from the eye for up to 35 miles, while tropical-storm-force winds extend outward for up to 140 miles.
Maximum sustained winds are currently being clocked at 110 miles per hour, making the storm a category two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
Harvey is moving toward the northwest at around ten miles per hour, however it is expected to slow to a near-standstill as it approaches the Texas coast.
Courtesy of the NHC, here is the storm’s updated outlook …
(Click to view)
Further strengthening is expected throughout the day on Friday, with most forecasts calling for Harvey to assume category three status by late Friday morning and possibly even category four status by the time its eye moves ashore in the early morning hours of Saturday.
If that happens, Harvey will be the first category three (or stronger) storm to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Wilma hit south Florida in October 2005. It would also be the strongest storm to hit Texas in nearly fifty years.
Here’s a look at its latest projected path …
(Click to view)
Again, though, the real danger will come after Harvey hits.
If predictions hold true, parts of Texas that only receive thirty inches of rain all year could see more than that dumped on their heads in a span of only 72 hours. Complicating matters further is the fact Harvey is expected to hit at a time when the area has already received higher-than-usual rainfall.
The worst part of all this? Harvey’s sudden emergence caught everyone off guard.
After forming in the Atlantic on August 17, Harvey became a Tropical Storm almost immediately. It dissipated within two days, though, and completely broke up over the Yucatan Peninsula.
At around 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, though, it reformed as a tropical depression and regained Tropical Storm status at 2:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday.
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