Texans are evacuating or holing up as life-threatening conditions are expected when Hurricane Harvey, the first US Category 3 hurricane to make landfall in nearly a dozen years, could bring flooding and a storm surge that could reach heights of six to 12 feet.
Harvey, which is expected to officially hit Category 3 status by Friday, is expected to make landfall between Texas’ coast Friday night or Saturday morning.
Texas and Louisiana both face the prospects of Biblical-level floods, as Harvey will slowly roam the area and is not expected to dissipate until at least Monday.
On Thursday afternoon, Harvey’s winds strengthened to 80 mph (128 km/h). Rain is expected from 10 to 20 inches (25.4 to 50.8 cm), while some areas may see 30 inches (76 cm). Flash floods and 115 mph winds are also possible.
“Since Harvey is forecast to stall, we expect 10-20 inches of rain over a large part of southern and eastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana from Friday into early next week,”according to AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski.
Heavy rain and strong gusts of wind showcased on Twitter portend the extreme weather to come.
Texans waited in long lines as they stocked up on water and supplies, including gasoline to fuel an evacuation. Others were bused to public shelters.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump tweeted links to government agencies where people can seek information on protecting themselves against the incoming hurricane. Some on Twitter complained that they were blocked by the president’s account and were unable to see it.
Calhoun and San Patricio counties in Texas have notified residents to move inland, in order to avoid the storm. Voluntary evacuations have also been issued to the city of Corpus Christi, the Washington Post reported.