Hurricane Harvey has slammed into Texas as a monstrous Category 4 hurricane on Friday night, with winds of 130mph causing buildings to collapse with people trapped inside and leaving more than 100,000 without power.
The hurricane hit shortly after 10pm local time, as waves flooded onto roads, roofs were sent flying into the air and residents in the storm’s path were told to label themselves in case they died.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned that Hurricane Harvey would be ‘a major disaster’ before the storm barreled into the state with violent winds and massive rainfall, all on top of storm surges up to 13 feet.
Harvey is the strongest storm to hit the US in 12 years and is expected to trigger ‘catastrophic’ floods, as the National Weather Service warned that this was the ‘start of many difficult days to come’.
Hurricane Harvey has slammed into Texas as a monstrous Category 4 hurricane on Friday night, with winds of 130mph causing buildings to collapse with people trapped inside and leaving more than 100,000 without power
The hurricane hit shortly after 10pm local time, as waves flooded onto roads, roofs were sent flying into the air. Pictured: A power generator container tips in front of a hospital on the Corpus Christi-Shoreline
Before the hurricane even hit, traffic lights were blown over and hurricane shelters made their final lock-downs
The hurricane exceeded forecasts of how strong the storm would be when it slammed into Texas, as residents in the storm’s path were told to label themselves in case they die
The storm had sustained winds of 130mph on Friday evening when it made landfall on the Texas coast
Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned that Hurricane Harvey will be ‘a major disaster’ as Texans are expecting flooding, power outages, winds up to 130mph and more than 35 inches of rain
Even before the storm made landfall, reports of damage were trickling in from the coastal region.
Some buildings in Rockport, which is near Corpus Christi, have collapsed and guests who are hunkering down in hotels have said they can feel the tall buildings sway under the strength of the powerful winds.
Rockport city manager Kevin Carruth said to KHOU: ‘People are trapped inside at least one collapsed building. We can’t get rescue team to them right now.’
CBS News reported that the building was a senior housing complex and the roof had collapsed on the elderly inhabitants.
Photos and social media videos show the grim scene as structures have walls ripped from their frames and wet debris is strewn about.
Other reports claim that a portion of a high school in Rockport has caved in.
Around 104,000 customers were already without power two hours before the hurricane hit, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas company’s Twitter account.
It warned people to stay away from downed power lines and to report them, as massive flooding is expected to wreak havoc on the area.
Heavy rainfall of as much as 40 inches plus strong storm surges are expected to combine for ‘devastating’ flooding
An estimated eight million people are under a hurricane warning, with additional millions under a tropical storm warning
Hillary Lebeb walks along the seawall in Galveston, Texas as Hurricane Harvey intensifies in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday
A woman is helped to a bus as she and other are evacuated as the outer bands of Hurricane Harvey begin to make landfall, in Corpus Christi
The USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier turned museum, rests in Corpus Christi Bay as waters begin to turn rough
Harvey has intensified into a powerful category four storm, and outer bands whipped Corpus Christi on Friday
Strong winds batter a house on Padre Island as Hurricane Harvey approaches Corpus Christi on Friday
Harvey (right) is on course to make landfall as the strongest storm since the devastating Katrina 12 years ago (left)
Those who aren’t evacuating and are remaining in the storm’s path, such as Corpus Christi, were told to write their names or social security numbers on their arms so that their bodies can be later identified
As Trump departed the White House for Camp David on Friday afternoon, he responded when asked what message he had for the people of Texas: ‘Good luck to everybody. They’re gonna be safe. Good luck to everybody. Good luck.’
Governor Abbott minced no words in underscoring the severity of the threat.
‘What you don’t know and what nobody else knows right now is the magnitude of flooding that will be coming,’ Abbott said in a press conference on Friday afternoon, adding that the state ‘will be dealing with immense, really record-setting flooding in multiple regions across the state of Texas.’
The powerful storm exceeded forecasts that it would remain a Category 3 hurricane, as the National Weather Service Forecast sent out the amended category around 6pm local time.
Category 4 hurricanes have wind speeds that reach up to 156mph, enough strength to tear off roofs, destroy mobile homes, snap and uproot most large trees and can cause large power outages.
Those who didn’t evacuate and remained in the storm’s path, such as Corpus Christi, were told to write their names or social security numbers on their arms so that their bodies can be later identified.
Officials said they had no idea how many Corpus Christi residents heeded their urge to voluntary evacuate the city of 325,000 and nearby low-lying areas taking the brunt of the storm.
Nueces County spokesman Tyner Little said traffic inland ‘was not hugely heavy as we’ve seen with other hurricanes.’ He said the local sheriff said 90 percent of Port Aransas had left.
Nevertheless, Little said county officials were ‘kind of freaked out’ because the hurricane was tracking closer to Corpus Christi than officials had expected.
The National Weather Service Forecast told those who remained near the hurricane eye to take cover immediately around 6pm local time, and to brace as if a tornado was approaching, due to winds reaching 145mph.
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials issued an alert on Friday evening saying if a shelter in place order is issued, residents should immediately take action to do so.
Corpus Christi firefighters help Guadalupe Guerra walk to a bus headed for San Antonio at an evacuation center Friday
Matt Looingbill struggles with his umbrella as he tries to walk in the wind and rain on Friday in Corpus Christi
Crews install the final portion of a surge wall on TX-361 leading to the Port Aransas ferry in Aransas Pass on Friday
Crew members use a phone to check the radar while waiting to install the final portion of a surge wall on TX-361
Water from Hurricane Harvey’s storm surge crashes through pylons at a fishing pier in Port Isabel, Texas on Friday morning
Luis Perez watches waves crash again a jetty in Galveston, Texas as Hurricane Harvey intensifies in the Gulf of Mexico Friday
Get Out: Officials gave evacuation orders for much of the Texas coast, warning that the window for escape was closing
A NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Harvey at 3.47pm Friday clearly showed the storm’s eye as the storm nears landfall
FREE PLACES TO STAY FOR HURRICANE HARVEY EVACUEES
Some spots in Texas and Louisiana are offering free or discounted places for Hurricane Harvey evacuees to stay.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott opened Texas state parks to hurricane evacuees to camp for free.
Several parks on the coast and in South Texas have been closed for the hurricane, but the Texas Parks and Wildlife department posted a map of available camping sites away from the path of the hurricane to its website .
There are 12 campgrounds and RV parks with space for Hurricane Harvey evacuees as well and urged people to check www.texascampgrounds.com and www.texascabinrentals.com.
Vacation rental company Airbnb says it has started connecting evacuees and relief workers with short-term lodging with its hosts free of charge as part of its Disaster Response Program through its website.
FEMA urged residents to charge cell phones and to download the agency’s phone app and follow them on social media.
Six federal Urban Search and Rescue task forces have been staged in San Antonio in preparation. Other support personnel as well as National Flood Insurance program officials have been stationed in other areas of Texas.
At least one researcher predicted heavy damage that would linger for months or longer.
‘We know that we’ve got millions of people who are going to feel the impact of this storm,’ said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman and meteorologist for the National Hurricane Center.
He added: ‘We really pray that people are listening to their emergency managers and get out of harm’s way.’
Galveston-based storm surge expert Hal Needham said forecasts indicated that it was ‘becoming more and more likely that something really bad is going to happen.’
‘In terms of economic impact, Harvey will probably be on par with Hurricane Katrina,’ said University of Miami senior hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy. ‘The Houston area and Corpus Christi are going to be a mess for a long time.
Forecasters labeled Harvey a ‘life-threatening storm’ that posed a ‘grave risk,’ saying it could swamp several counties more than 100 miles inland and projecting it will wallop the coast not once but twice in the next week.
Several counties were put under under mandatory evacuation orders, and residents not under orders to leave were urged to move inland.
Texas officials say shelters that are opening statewide won’t ask arriving families about their immigration status, with the storm making landfall a week before a new ‘sanctuary city’ crackdown in Texas takes effect.
‘Now is the time to urgently hide from the wind,’ the NWS said in a flash bulletin on Friday. ‘Failure to adequately shelter may result in serious injury, loss of life, or immense human suffering.’
‘All the advice we can give is get out, and get out now,’ said Patrick Rios, the mayor of Rockport, Texas where an estimated 60 percent of the town’s 9,500 residents had left.
The projected track of the circulation center shows the storm stalling out and heading back to sea before hitting Houston
Winds near the eye of the hurricane have reached a sustained 130mph and are expected to climb before landfall
Storm surges and torrential rain of more than 35 inches are expected to devastate parts of the Texas coast
High winds could create massive storm surges as the hurricane is expected to hover over the coast, prolonging its impact
Power outages could reach all the way to San Antonio, which is more than 130 miles away from Corpus Christi
Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold was drenched with rain in an on-air interview from his home district on Friday
President Trump said he had spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana and was prepared to assist the states
Trump tweeted in the afternoon on Friday that he had arrived at Camp David and was continuing to moniter the hurricane
Sharp winds and rain had already begun to batter the coast on Friday, with landfall predicted east of Corpus Christi sometime between 10pm Friday and 2am Saturday.
Eight million Texans are under hurricane warnings, with an additional one million under tropical storm warnings, as landfall quickly approaches for what could be the most powerful hurricane to hit the US in 12 years.
The National Hurricane Center’s official five-day forecast Friday has Harvey slamming the central Texas coast, stalling and letting loose with lots of rain.
Then forecasters project the weakened but still tropical storm is likely to go back into the Gulf of Mexico, gain some strength and hit Houston next week, meaning the storm could wallop the Texas coast twice in a row.
US gasoline prices spiked as the storm shut down 22 percent, or 377,000 barrels per day, of Gulf of Mexico oil production and halted 4.4 percent of US refinery output, according to the US government.
Gas stations and grocery stores in the region were packed as residents readied their cars and pantries for any shortages following the storm.
Coldplay, the British rock band, canceled a Friday concert in Houston, telling fans it didn’t want to risk anyone’s safety.
Forecasters say rip current effects from Hurricane Harvey could be felt at far east as the Alabama coast and the western Florida Panhandle.
Emergency officials work at the State Operations Center in Austin in preparation for Hurricane Harvey on Friday
Hurricane Specialist Robbie Berg monitors the progress of Hurricane Harvey at the National Hurricane Center on Friday
Waves lash the shore in Corpus Christi as winds pick up ahead of Harvey’s expected landfall around midnight
Ramon Lopez boards up windows of a business in Galveston, Texas as Hurricane Harvey intensifies on Friday
Residents shutter businesses and evacuate in Corpus Christi on Friday as Harvey begins to lash the area with wind and rain
A truck carrying new utility polls is staged for deployment in preparation of Hurricane Harvey on Friday in Port Isabel, Texas
Final Preparations: People rush to buy plywood Friday at Lowes in Corpus Christi, Texas as Hurricane Harvey approaches
People load plywood at Lowes in Corpus Christ early Friday as officials warned the window for preparations is closing
City workers pull down a canvas covering as the outer bands of Hurricane Harvey move closer to Corpus Christi on Friday
‘CRITICALLY ILL’ NEWBORNS FLOWN FROM STORM
Flight crews transport a newborn from a coastal hospital in the storm track to safety in Forth Worth, Texas
Ten newborns in intensive care have been evacuated by plane from the path of Hurricane Harvey as the storm bears down on the Texas coast.
Flight crews worked for 18 hours straight on Thursday and Friday transporting the infants from the NICU at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi to Cook Children’s in Fort Worth.
All of the babies were born in the past few weeks and are ‘critically ill’, officials said.
The evacuation of the medically fragile infants came as Harvey threatened massive storm surges and more than 35 inches of rain that are expected to devastate coastal areas.
Flight crews worked through the night shuttling the critically ill infants out of harm’s way on four different planes.
‘Because of the extraordinary nature of the hurricane and the transport teams working together, these babies arrived in a dramatic way to our NICU,’ Register Nurse Sheralyn Hartline, director of the NICU at Cook Children’s, said in a statement.
‘Our physicians, nurses and everyone who works in the NICU are all prepared and trained for occasions exactly like this one. Every day, they are treating the sickest children with the most difficult and complex diagnoses,’ Hartline said.
Aransas Pass: Mandatory evacuation order issued
Brazoria County: Mandatory evacuation order issued for coastal communities along the Gulf side of the Intracoastal Waterway
Calhoun County: Mandatory evacuation order issued
Freeport: City officials have ordered a mandatory evacuation for all low-lying coastal areas, including Bridge Harbor. All other residents are also encouraged to evacuate.
Matagorda County: Everyone south of FM521 is included in the mandatory evacuation order, including the communities of Palacios, Collegeport, Matagorda, Sargent and Wadsworth.
The port of Houston, the nation’s busiest petrochemical port, closed its terminals at noon, and earlier halted inbound and outbound ship traffic on Friday.
The city of Houston warned residents of flooding from close to 20 inches of rain over several days.
Throughout the Texas coast, millions of people were bracing for a prolonged battering from the hurricane, which could be the fiercest such storm to hit the US in nearly a dozen years.
‘We are using terms like ‘devastating’ and ‘catastrophic’ in association with this storm,’ NWS spokesman Greg Waller told the Star-Telegram. ‘You will remember this storm for the rest of your life.’
President Donald Trump faces a major new test as devastation looms, with the federal response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans a famous albatross around the neck of his Republican predecessor George W. Bush.
Shortly before the hurricane was expected to hit, Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio, a controversial former sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona on Friday night.
Arpaio was convicted in July for criminal contempt for disregarding a court order in a racial profiling case.
Trump made the decision while at Camp David although he said he was closely monitoring the hurricane’s progression.
Trump said Friday that he was in contact with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and monitoring developments in each state, ready to provide necessary resources to the gulf region.
Disaster areas have been declared in both states in anticipation of massive devastation.
Texas Governor Abbott ordered the State Operations Center to elevate its readiness level, making state resources available for possible rescue and recovery actions, in addition to activating 700 members of the Texas Army Guard, Texas Air National Guard and the Texas State Guard.
On Thursday, at least 10 critically ill babies were evacuated by air from Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.
The Corpus Christi airport shut down late Friday morning for the rest of the day, and runways will likely be closed for the rest of the weekend as conditions warrant.
Looking ahead to next week, the Houston Texans may relocate their home preseason game scheduled for Thursday to the Cowboys stadium in Dallas.
National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini said meteorologists expect the hurricane to bring winds of 130 mph or higher and up to 30 inches of rain, which could lead to major chaos in southeast Texas.
The powerful storm is set to hammer the Texas Gulf Coast with an extremely dangerous combination of ‘torrential rainfall, storm-surge flooding and destructive winds this weekend, before taking a strange, meandering path next week’, the Weather Channel reported.
The US National Hurricane Center said Harvey has ‘rapidly intensified’ and experts say weather conditions have created the perfect recipe for the monster hurricane to form and crash into Texas later on Friday.
The national guard has been mobilized amid fears over life-threatening flash flooding, which poses ‘a grave risk’ to Texans as the hurricane is expected to be the strongest to hit the United States mainland in 12 years since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
Harvey grew quickly Thursday from a tropical depression into a Category 1 hurricane.
Fueled by warm Gulf of Mexico waters, it was projected to become a major Category 3 hurricane, but grew to a Category 4 on Friday evening.
The last storm stronger to hit the U.S. was Hurricane Wilma as a Category 5 in October 2005 in Florida.
The national guard has been mobilized amid fears over the life-threatening flash flooding, which poses ‘a grave risk’
The hurricane is expected to be the strongest to hit the United States mainland in 12 years since Hurricane Wilma in 2005
The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office sent out an alert to residents about potential sightings of alligators due to the storm
People are panicking as grocery stores are rapidly selling out of water and supplies in Houston (pictured), increasing the frenzy on Thursday night before Hurricane Harvey is expected to hit Texas the following day
The powerful storm is set to hammer the Texas Gulf Coast with an extremely dangerous combination of ‘torrential rainfall, storm-surge flooding and destructive winds’ this weekend. Pictured: People stocking up on water in Houston
Shelves were empty, causing people to fight over the last containers of water as some likened the scene to Black Friday. People took to social media to post pictures of the mad dash as they went to get supplies on Thursday night in Houston
At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Corpus Christi’s Mayor Joe McComb told people not to dismiss Harvey and to voluntarily evacuate, saying: ‘We encourage the residents in low-lying areas, as they say, to get out of Dodge.’
McComb added: ‘Go to a family, friend and get to higher ground.’
The mayor’s warning comes on the heels of Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office sending out an alert to residents about potential sightings of alligators due to the storm.
The department tweeted: ‘Gators and flooding advice via @txgatorsquad: Expect them to be displaced. Simply looking for higher ground. Leave alone until water recedes.’
On Thursday, Trump released a video of him meeting with FEMA officials on Twitter, asking citizens to plan ahead for Hurricane Harvey and provided links to resources.
As the storm loomed, customer fought over water as grocery stores rapidly sold out out of supplies, increasing the frenzy before Hurricane Harvey arrives.
Officials have asked residents to evacuate as they prepare for chaotic flooding and power outages but those who are staying in the path of the hurricane rushed to grocery stores in order to stock up on water, food, gas and other supplies on Thursday night.
However, they arrived to find shops with empty shelves, causing people to fight over the last containers of water as some likened the scenes to Black Friday.
People have taken to social media to post pictures of the mad dash as they went to get supplies on Thursday night.
Photos show people waiting in long lines to check out with pallets of water bottles in their carts and cars lined up around blocks to get gas.
One user wrote on Twitter: ‘People grabbing cases of water like it’s a Black Friday sale. Hurricane Harvey is real.’
Another said: ‘I had to drive almost 30 minutes to find a store that has water… This Houston hurricane is no joke man.’
A dismayed woman wrote: ‘Bread is gone. Gas is gone. Water is gone. If you don’t have it already, you need to befriend your neighbors.’
Customers enter H-E-B Plus in Corpus Christi, Texas on Thursday to stock up on supplies in advance of Hurricane Harvey
President Trump urged citizens to prepare for Hurricane Harvey on Thursday and said he is ready to provide aid. The president called Texas Governor Gregg Abbott (right) later that night to personally inform him of his planned aid
Both the Texas Governor and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards received calls from Trump on Thursday night
Governor Abbott preemptively declared a state of disaster for 30 counties on or near the coast to speed deployment of state resources to any areas affected.
Trump called Abbott on Thursday night to personally tell him that he was ready to help respond to the strongest hurricane expected to hit the US in more than a decade.
Abbott tweeted out a photo of himself on the phone with Trump and said: ‘Spoke with Pres. Trump & heads of Homeland Security & FEMA. They’re helping Texas respond to #HurricaneHarvey.’
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards also received a call from Trump that night, tweeting: ‘Spoke w/ @POTUS @realDonaldTrump this afternoon. He offered his full support to the people of LA as we prepare for #Harvey.’
A statement released by Abbott added: ‘President Trump called Governor Abbott to offer federal support for the State of Texas as Hurricane Harvey approaches the Gulf Coast.
‘The President pledged all available resources from the federal government to assist in preparation, and rescue and recovery efforts.
‘The Governor thanked the President for his pledge of support and assured him that the state is working hand-in-hand with local and federal partners on all issues related to the storm.’
National Weather Service director Uccellini added that the hurricane was ‘a very dangerous storm.’ He said it’s a ‘potentially impactful storm’ that will last over several days and produce large rains from Texas into Louisiana.
Uccellini said Harvey is a risk to people with extremely heavy rainfall that causes inland flooding lasting through the middle of next week, a large storm surge and high winds. A storm surge is an abnormal rise of water above the normal tide, generated by a storm.
Uccellini also notes that the storm is intensifying as it approaches land.
Harvey will be the first hurricane to strike Texas since 2008 after Category 2 Hurricane Ike devastated some parts of the state.
‘Now is the time to check your emergency plan and take necessary actions to secure your home or business. Deliberate efforts should be underway to protect life and property,’ the weather service said in an statement early on Thursday.
Emergency officials asked residents along the upper Texas coastline to move or prepare to move inland.
Those in low-lying areas were urged to seek higher ground, and those elsewhere were told to monitor official announcements closely.
The storm is now expected hit the central Texas coast with a combination of winds of 115 miles per hour and heavy rains, said John Tharp, a forecaster with Weather Decision Technologies in Norman, Oklahoma.
‘With this system’s intensity and slow motion, it is the worst of both worlds,’ he said referring to the expected winds and rains. ‘There will be major impacts along the coast and inland with periods of prolonged rain.’
Harvey will cause a storm surge that will flood parts of the Texas coast as it makes landfall and linger for days over the state, dumping up to 30 inches of rain on some areas, the NHC said in an advisory on Thursday.
The mayor of Texas coastal city Corpus Christi warned on Wednesday that flooding was his biggest concern.
‘I hope people will listen to forecasters when they say ‘beware of flash floods,” Joe McComb said. ‘Flash floods can come quickly, and they can be deadly.’
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi issued a mandatory evacuation to all students who live on campus and canceled events.
Shoppers pass empty shelves along the bottled water isle in a Houston grocery store as Hurricane Harvey intensifies in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday
Harvey is forecast to be a major hurricane when it makes landfall along the middle Texas coastline on Friday night
Marie Michel loads a filled water bottled into her shopping cart inside the Kroger store in preparation of Hurricane Harvey on Thursday in Houston
A shopper finds empty shelves on the bottled water section inside the Kroger store on in preparation of Hurricane Harvey in Houston