Last Updated Aug 26, 2017 5:40 AM EDT
HOUSTON -- Hurricane Harvey smashed into Texas late Friday, lashing a wide swath of the Gulf Coast with strong winds and torrential rain from the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade.
Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a monstrous Category 4 storm, the National Weather Service said.
As it moved inland Saturday morning, Harvey slowed to a Category 3 hurricane that was still punching out maximum sustained winds of nearly 125 mph, CBS affiliate KZTV reports, and then a Category 2 with sustained winds near 100 mph and gusts near 120 mph. Due to the storm's slow churn and closeness to water, the winds of Harvey will not die down anytime soon. Hurricane force wind gusts are likely near the eye for several more hours.
As Harvey slammed the Texas Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center warned Texans to prepare for "life-threatening flash flooding" in the coming days that could be "catastrophic."
More than 211,000 homes and businesses were without power early Saturday, Texas authorities reported, leaving locals both in the dark and without air conditioning in the August heat. The National Weather Service warned that some residents may not be able to return to their homes for weeks or months.
Houston is bracing for 15 to 25 inches of rainfall, with some areas getting up to 3 feet of total rainfall by Wednesday, CBS affiliate KHOU-TV reports.
"In terms of economic impact, Harvey will probably be on par with Hurricane Katrina," Brian McNoldy, a senior hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, told the Associated Press. "The Houston area and Corpus Christi are going to be a mess for a long time."
Harvey came ashore as the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in 13 years and the strongest to strike Texas since 1961's Hurricane Carla, the most powerful Texas hurricane on record.
Follow along below for live updates on the storm. All times are Eastern.
5:00 a.m.: From Category 3 to Category 2
The National Hurricane Center downgraded Hurricane Harvey to a Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds near 100 mph. Harvey is likely to become a tropical storm later today as it moves further inland, forecasters predicted, but warned of "catastrophic flooding over the next few days due to heavy rainfall." .
4:30 a.m.: Emergency crews in limbo
Many emergency crews were unable to make rescues early Saturday because of Harvey's strong winds. Melissa Munguia, the deputy emergency management coordinator in Nueces County, which includes Corpus Christi, said early Saturday that it could be several more hours before crews could fully assess the damage in coastal communities.