Millions of Texans are bracing for a prolonged battering as Hurricane Harvey bears down on the Texas Gulf Coast in what could be the fiercest hurricane to strike the United States since Wilma in 2005.
Find the latest developments on the hurricane here.
Harvey could bring winds of more than 125 mph and rainfall of 36 inches when it reaches the Texas coast late Friday or early Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
How will the hurricane affect Fort Worth and other parts of North Texas? Weather-wise, not much, aside from potential scattered showers over the weekend.
Rain chances in the area for Saturday and Sunday are hovering around 20-30 percent, said Lee Carlaw, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. Some showers popped up on Thursday and rain chances remained for Friday, but those were unrelated to Harvey.
“There’s a bit of sinking air that follows these type of storms, so that could temper the overall rain chances here,” Carlaw said. “It’s looking like most of the impact will stay to the south of us.”
Farther south, cities were bracing for dangerous winds and heavy flooding. North Texas agencies have sent support to the coast.
The Fort Worth Fire Department sent 14 members of its dive team, while the Fort Worth Federal Emergency Management Agency sent several 18-wheelers full of supplies, including 250,000 meals and 77,000 liters of water, to Randolph military base in Seguin.
Also, the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth was designated as an evacuation point for Navy personnel and aircraft at air stations in Corpus Christi and Kingsville. Navy T-45s began arriving at the Fort Worth base Thursday afternoon.
Ten critically ill infants from Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi were evacuated to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth on Thursday evening, Cook spokeswoman Kim Brown said. The babies require ventilators, which means any power outage could put them at risk.
Harvey is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane, which can bring winds of up to 129 mph and cause devastating damage, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
All seven Texas counties on the coast from Corpus Christi to the western end of Galveston Island have ordered mandatory evacuations of tens of thousands of residents from all low-lying areas, The Associated Press reported. In four of those counties, officials ordered their entire county evacuated and warned those who stayed behind that no one could be guaranteed rescue. Voluntary evacuations have been urged for Corpus Christi itself and for the Bolivar Peninsula, a sand spit near Galveston where many homes were washed away by the storm surge of Hurricane Ike in 2008.
Texas officials expressed concern that not as many people are evacuating compared with previous storms, the AP reported.
“A lot of people are taking this storm for granted thinking it may not pose much of a danger to them,” Gov. Greg Abbott, who has activated about 700 members of the state National Guard, told Houston television station KPRC. “Please heed warnings and evacuate as soon as possible.”
Near South Padre, flood levels were expected to reach as high as 10 feet in certain areas, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Flooding in Houston could be comparable to last year’s or in 2001 after Tropical Storm Allison, which left 22 dead and 30,000 homeless, Jeff Linder, a meteorologist with the Harris County Flood Control District, told the Houston Chronicle.
Harvey would be the first significant hurricane to hit Texas since Ike in September 2008 brought winds of 110 mph to the Galveston and Houston areas and inflicted $22 billion in damage. It would be the first big storm along the middle Texas coast since Hurricane Claudette in 2003 caused $180 million in damage.
It’s taking aim at the same vicinity as Hurricane Carla, the largest Texas hurricane on record. Carla came ashore in 1961 with wind gusts estimated at 175 mph and inflicted more than $300 million in damage. The storm killed 34 people and forced about 250,000 people to evacuate.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Donald Trump was “briefed and will continue to be updated as the storm progresses,” the AP reported.
Staff writer Matt Martinez contributed to this report, which includes material from The Associated Press.