With forecasters calling it the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the United States’ southeastern shores since Wilma over a decade ago, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas late Friday night.
Propelled by brutal winds exceeding 130 miles per hour, Hurricane Harvey blustered onto American soil between Port Arkansas and Port O’Connor. The Texas city of Corpus Christi was the first densely populated area that was subjected to the full fury of the hurricane.
Experts have warned that the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey could be extremely severe due to the slow pace at which the storm is swirling across the countryside. According to the National Hurricane Center, Harvey’s slow movement will expose the regions to “a prolonged period of onshore flow,” while “water levels will remain elevated for several days.”
Toppled structures and power lines are allegedly an inevitability, while unanchored mobile homes are at risk of being carried away by the strong currents created by a relentless torrential downpour. Locals have been warned that electricity supplies may be severed for weeks during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Despite the fact that Harvey was recently downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 2 tropical storm, the National Hurricane Center alleges that the jeopardy and destruction are only beginning.
“Even though Harvey has made landfall, the rainfall threat is only beginning.”
Currently, Harvey is lashing out with sustained winds of 110 miles per hour, down from 130 miles per hour gusts as experienced just after the hurricane made landfall.
So far, over 211,000 Texas residents have been without electricity for hours, and extensive structural damage has occurred in areas such as Port Aransas and Rockland.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a statement to thank donors for a total of 96,000 liters of water, 306,000 meals, and 4,500 tarps to protect victims of Harvey from its angry assault.
Locals who are enduring the hurricane have been stocking up on food and beverages, as well as resources such as gas. Flights were canceled to and from the affected states, while other residents decided to stay home and board up the windows instead.
New Orleans, one of Hurricane Katrina’s most battered victims, has been actively working with FEMA and the state of Louisiana to ensure that the city’s pumps are working optimally.
According to ABC News, Governor Greg Abbott asked the White House for an emergency declaration. Trump acquiesced and signed a disaster relief document to secure federal funds for the repairs and care in Harvey’s wake.
Authorities, including Meteorologist Ginger Zee, have said that even after Hurricane Harvey blows back out to the open ocean, heavy rainfall is expected to continue for days. This will most likely result in significant flooding.
“This is going to be a storm we talk about, unfortunately, for at least the next seven days.”
For safety reasons, FEMA Administrator Brock Long has asked locals who are in the eye of the storm or in its path, to listen carefully to evacuation procedures and to follow the instructions down to the letter.
Below is an indication of the path Hurricane Harvey is expected to take – a projection issued by the National Weather Service (NWS).
On Saturday morning, the NWS confirmed that Harvey had burst onto land late Friday evening. Harvey is expected to linger in the interior coastal region for some time.
Then, between Sunday and Monday, precise calculations show that the hurricane is growing in size as it leaves the Gulf Coast and Texas to carry its havoc in an easterly direction.
From Tuesday, however, Harvey could make its way northeast and again gain strength over the Gulf Coast. In such an event, the hurricane will likely make landfall again.
The affected states have been proactively preparing for Hurricane Harvey since Wednesday this week, while the Coast Guard confirmed it was sending shallow-depth vessels – vehicles designed to navigate flooded areas in times of emergency rescue operations.
So far, by Friday afternoon, the Coast Guard had already rescued 12 people from a 160-foot vessel near Port Mansfield, Texas.
[Featured Image by International Space Station/NASA]