As of 2:00 PM CDT (Central Daylight Time) Harvey was upgraded to a Category 3 Hurricane by the National Hurricane Center.
"Harvey became a Category 2 hurricane around midnight in Texas and was packing top winds of 110 miles (175 kilometers) an hour, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory posted around 7 a.m. local time Friday. It will be upgraded to a major hurricane once winds reach 111 miles per hour." - Bloomberg, 8:30 AM EDT today
Latest updated report (excerpts) by Reuters Staff:
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Reuters) - Hurricane Harvey intensified early on Friday into potentially the most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland in more than a decade, as authorities warned locals to shelter from what could be life-threatening winds and floods.
Harvey is set to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday on the central Texas coast where Corpus Christi and Houston are home to some of the biggest U.S. refineries. Oil and gas operations have already been disrupted and gasoline prices have spiked.
“Now is the time to urgently hide from the wind. Failure to adequately shelter may result in serious injury, loss of life, or immense human suffering,” the National Weather Service said.
Harvey grew into a category 2 storm with winds of 110 mph (177 kph) as it moved northwest about 145 miles (233 km) off Port O’Connor, Texas, the National Hurricane Center said.
Up to 35 inches (97 cm) of rain are expected over parts of Texas, with winds up to 125 mph, and sea levels may surge as high as 12 feet (3.7 meters). Louisiana could get 10 to 15 inches of rain. Flood warnings are in effect for Louisiana and northern Mexico.
“Life-threatening and devastating flooding expected near the coast due to heavy rainfall and storm surge,” the hurricane center said.
The storm’s approach triggered evacuations and forced classes to be canceled on Friday at dozens of schools along the south Texas coast, home to 5.8 million people from Corpus Christi to Galveston.
Harvey also forced the cancellation or delay of at least 40 flights in and out of major airports in Texas on Friday, according to Flightaware.com, which tracks airline traffic.
Hurricane Harvey approaching Texas coast: NHC
Port of Corpus Christi closed as Texas braces for hurricane
Louisiana and Texas declared states of disaster, authorizing the use of state resources to prepare. President Donald Trump has been briefed and is ready to provide resources if needed, the White House said on Thursday.
Harvey is forecast to come ashore as a Category 3 hurricane, the NHC said, the third most powerful on the Saffir-Simpson scale. That would make it the first major hurricane to hit the mainland United States since Hurricane Wilma struck Florida in 2005.
The NHC expects Harvey to move slowly and linger over Texas for days. Some tracking models forecast that the storm could circle back out over Gulf waters after making landfall, and then hit the Texas coast again.
Houston, the nation’s fourth most populous city, warned residents of flooding from close to 20 inches of rain over several days.
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