A tropical depression that formed in the Gulf of Mexico has now attained the status of a hurricane. According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Harvey has reached wind speeds of more than 80 mph as of Thursday afternoon. The Center has also forecast that Hurricane Harvey will hit the Texas Gulf Coast as a Category 3 hurricane as it intensifies further. If the forecast does turn out to be true, it will make Harvey the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade. The last major storm in the region was Hurricane Wilma that hit the U.S. back in October 2005, the Washington Post reports.
With the threat of Hurricane Harvey looming large, the National Hurricane Center also issued a hurricane warning for a 280-mile long stretch of the Texas coast. The center has also warned about the possibility of some areas getting as much as 25 inches of rain over the course of the next week. As of now, Hurricane Harvey is part of a slow moving storm system which has lead to heightened concerns of heavy rainfall and subsequent waterlogging and flooding. Some areas in Texas could also see dangerous flash floods. A statement issued by hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski of Accuweather read;
“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.”
Another Accuweather weather expert Marshall Moss has predicted that the impact caused by Hurricane Harvey would be of “tremendous” nature and that it will cause severe damage to life and property across the region.
People and businesses living in the path of the hurricane have started preparing for the worse. Petroleum companies ExxonMobil, Shell and Anadarko Petroleum have started evacuating their workers from the region. People living on South Padre Island have started filling sandbags to protect their homes and businesses.
A hurricane watch is in effect for most of coastal Texas — from Port Mansfield to Luis Pass. There are also concerns about storm surges that could range from 5 to 7 feet in height. Owing to these concerns, residents living along the upper Texas coastline have been asked to move inland. People living in low-lying areas have also been directed to seek higher ground.
The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott has directed the State Operations Center to raise its readiness level and has already declared a state of emergency. While it is not possible to correctly predict the behavior of hurricanes once they hit land, current computer models reveal that Hurricane Harvey will make landfall on Friday night — somewhere between Port Mansfield and San Luis Pass.
In case you happen to live in the path of the hurricane, now is the time you started preparing to keep yourselves and your family safe.
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