Hurricane Harvey's winds are expected to blow through Texas at 110 mph late today and early Saturday, prompting the National Weather Service to report that parts of The Lone Star State will be “uninhabitable” for perhaps weeks or even months.
If predictions materialize, this will make Harvey the fiercest hurricane to hit the country in over a decade.
As the hurricane reached the Gulf Coast, millions were bracing for the immediate and long-term consequences, with forecasters warning that evacuations and other preparations should not be postponed.
The “life-threatening storm” may leave more than 100 miles of land under water. And as forecasters noticed the event growing quickly Thursday from a tropical depression to a Category 2 hurricane early Friday, locals are strongly advised to not ignore the grave warnings.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)'s Director Brock Long has also warned Texans that the window for evacuating is coming to a close and that “[t]here's going to be damage.”
National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said the organization is “forecasting continuing intensification right up until landfall,” which is expected to occur along the central Texas coast between Port O'Connor in Calhoun County and Matagorda Bay, roughly 80 miles northeast of Corpus Christi.
All residents of the coastal counties between Corpus Christi and the end of Galveston Island are being ordered to evacuate.
As the hurricane is supposed to stall once it reaches the shore, flood-prone cities, like Houston and San Antonio, may be getting copious amounts of rain for long periods of time.
Officials have already warned tens of thousands of residents there's no guarantee of rescue for anyone who chooses to stay depending on the conditions.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has already activated 700 members of Texas' National Guard in preparation for the hurricane and is now asking locals to “heed warnings and evacuate as soon as possible.”
At the White House, President Donald Trump was said to have been briefed about the situation. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders added he will “continue to be updated as the storm progresses."
This is the first major hurricane to hit the state since September 2008 when Hurricane Ike produced $22 billion in damage. It's the first major storm to hit the middle Texas coast 2003 when Hurricane Claudette caused $180 million worth of damage.
It's imperative that residents follow instructions when natural events, such as Hurricane Harvey, are expected to hit. Still, we hope the damage and long-term consequences aren't as drastic as forecasters have predicted.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Andres Martinez Casares