Texas is bracing itself for the storm of the decade as Hurricane Harvey can be seen intensifying from space as the powerful storm barrels towards the state, which is expecting catastrophic flooding and up to 30 inches of rain.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Hurricane Harvey has ‘rapidly intensified’ and will become a Category 3 hurricane at landfall in Texas late on Friday night.
Officials are concerned over the life-threatening flash flooding, adding that the powerful storm poses ‘a grave risk to the folks in Texas’ as the hurricane is expected to be the strongest to hit the United States mainland in 12 years.
President Donald Trump is standing by and monitoring the hurricane, ready to provide necessary resources to the gulf region, the White House said on Thursday. Trump is asking citizens to plan ahead for the storm.
National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini said meteorologists expect the storm to hail down on the region with 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.
Emergency officials geared up as forecasters predicted heavy rains in parts of eastern Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi that could continue for days.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the State Operations Center to elevate its readiness level, making state resources available for possible rescue and recovery actions.
Texas is bracing itself for the storm of the decade as Hurricane Harvey (pictured) can be seen from outer space as the powerful storm barrels towards the state with expected flooding and up to 30 inches of rain on Friday
Hurricane Harvey is expected to become a major storm once it makes landfall with strong winds and heavy rains on Friday. It is set to be a Category 3 when it hits Texas with winds over 100 mph
Hurricane Harvey is seen in the Texas Gulf Coast, U.S., in this NOAA GOES satellite image on Thursday
Officials are concerned over the life-threatening flash flooding, adding that the powerful storm poses ‘a grave risk to the folks in Texas’ as the hurricane is expected to be the strongest to hit the United States mainland in 12 years
President Donald Trump is standing by and monitoring the hurricane, ready to provide necessary resources to the gulf region, the White House said on Thursday. Trump is asking citizens to plan ahead for the storm
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a press briefing on Thursday that Trump is ready to respond with aid to Texas and surrounding areas affected by the hurricane.
She said: ‘We have acting secretary Elaine Duke who’s watching this closely and very involved in the process along with the acting director for FEMA and again, I think that we are in great shape, having General Kelly sitting next to the president throughout this process.
‘There’s probably no better chief of staff for the president during the hurricane season, and the president has been briefed and will continue to be updated as the storm progresses.
‘And certainly it’s something he’s very aware of and will keep a very watchful eye on. He stands ready to provide resources if needed.’
The president was previously briefed on the government’s hurricane preparations from FEMA disaster relief officials earlier this month, reported The Hill.
Trump said: ‘FEMA is something I’ve been very much involved in already. We’ve already taken care of many of the situations that really needed emergency funds. We do it quickly, we do it effectively, we have an amazing team.’
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.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a press briefing on Thursday that Trump is ready to respond with aid to Texas and surrounding areas affected by the hurricane. Pictured: Trump meeting with FEMA officials
As of 4pm CDT, Hurricane Harvey was located 305 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas
Officials are warning residents to prepare for massive flooding as coastal areas like Corpus Christi and even Houston could experience ‘very heavy’ rainfall
Officials say the storm will bring strong offshore winds as coastal flooding persists east of Harvey
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.
Governor Abbott also preemptively declared a state of disaster for 30 counties on or near the coast to speed deployment of state resources to any areas affected.
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 entire coast of Texas is on either a tropical storm warning or hurricane warning due to this powerful storm
Much of the coast of Texas is under storm surge warning including parts of Port O’Connor and Corpus Christi
Meteorologist Eric Holthaus pleaded with his Twitter followers to spread the word and start preparing for the possible hurricane
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.
Authorities have issued several warnings for residents to prepare for flooding as part of the approaching hurricane
Forecasters say there is a potential upper-level steering pattern this weekend that may stall Harvey for some time near or over the western Gulf Coast
Harvey will be the first hurricane to strike Texas since 2008 and could prove to be deadly
Shrimp crew dock at the Brownsville Shrimp Basin Thursday as Hurricane Harvey approaches the Texas coast
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
U.S. gasoline prices surged to a three-week high on Thursday as Hurricane Harvey moved across the Gulf of Mexico and threatened to slam oil refineries in Texas when it comes ashore this weekend.
Energy companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Anadarko Petroleum and Exxon Mobil have evacuated staff from offshore oil and gas platforms in the storm’s path.
Two oil refineries Corpus Christi were shutting down ahead of the storm, and concern that Harvey could cause shortages in fuel supply drove benchmark gasoline prices to a three-week high.
Prices for gasoline in spot physical markets on the Gulf Coast rose even more, hitting a one-year high.
Profit margins for refineries producing gasoline rose by over 12 percent on Thursday, putting margins on course for their biggest daily percentage gain in six months, according to Reuters data.
A shopper finds empty shelves on the bottled water section inside the Kroger store on in preparation of Hurricane Harvey in Houston
Bryan and Brenda Tumlinson install storm shutters on their store, Island Joes Coffee and Gallery, on North Padre Island in Corpus Christi, Texas, ahead of the hurricane
Marina employees secure the boater’s facility at the Corpus Christi Marina in preparation for Hurricane Harvey on Thursday
The two refineries that have shut have combined capacity to refine more than 450,000 barrels per day of crude.
The NHC expects the storm to come ashore along the central Texas coast, an area that includes Corpus Christi and Houston, home to some of the biggest refineries in the country.
More than 45 percent of the country’s refining capacity is along the U.S. Gulf Coast, and nearly a fifth of the nation’s crude oil is produced offshore in the region.
The storm could also bring flooding to inland shale oil fields in Texas that pump millions of barrels per day of crude.
The U.S. Gulf of Mexico is home to about 17 percent of the nation’s crude output and five percent of dry natural gas output, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
A shrimp boat travels along the Port of Brownsville, Texas, ship channel to dock at the Brownsville Shrimp Basin Thursday
Fresh Texas Gulf shrimp is removed from the bottom of a shrimp boat as shrimp crews dock at the Brownsville Shrimp Basin to wait out Hurricane Harvey
Ken Knox secures a friend’s boat at the Corpus Christi Marina in preparation for Hurricane Harvey on Thursday
From left, Buddy Cooper and Patrick Gesner, commanding officer of the Salvation Army in Corpus Christi receive supplies of water and clean-up kits in preparation for Hurricane Harvey on Thursday
Bill Tippett, with the Salvation Army disaster department, deliver supplies of water and clean up kits to the Salvation Army in preparation for Hurricane Harvey on Thursday
Other Gulf of Mexico operators said they were watching developments closely but operations were unaffected.
Chevron on Wednesday afternoon said it had not evacuated any staff and BP Plc said normal operations were still underway. ConocoPhillips said it was making preparations but had not interrupted any operations.
On South Padre Island, people filled sandbags and loaded them into cars and vans to take to protect exposed homes and businesses.
Others in the forecast path of the storm sought out generators, plywood and other goods from hardware stores.
Meanwhile, rice farmers in coastal Matagorda County moved quickly to harvest their crops.
A traffic sign reminds motorists to prepare for Hurricane Harvey on Thursday
Chris Mathew fills his vehicle and five gas cans at Costco in Pearland, Texas in preparation for the powerful storm approaching
Leo Sermiento (L) and Emilio Gutierrez (R) fill sandbags in preparation of a Hurricane Harvey on Wednesday on South Padre Island, Texas,
Robert Cavanaugh buys plywood at The Home Depot to board up his windows ahead of a Hurricane Harvey on Wednesday in Corpus Christi, Texas
A man stands in font of empty shelves where generators are kept at The Home Depot ahead of a Hurricane Harvey on Wednesday in Corpus Christi, Texas
Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the State Operations Center to elevate its readiness level, making state resources available for possible rescue and recovery actions
Rainfall totals of 10 to 15 inches were possible over the middle and upper Texas coast and southwest Louisiana through Tuesday, the Miami-based hurricane center said.
Hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge watches were in effect for counties on the eastern coast of Texas as the storm moved across the Gulf of Mexico, where it may strengthen into a hurricane.
A storm surge watch was in effect for Port Mansfield to High Island, just up the coast from Galveston.
A tropical storm watch was in effect for Boca de Catan, Mexico, just south of the Texas border, to Port Mansfield and from San Luis Pass to High Island.
AIRLINES OFFERING TO RE-BOOK FLIGHTS DUE TO HARVEY
Several airlines are working with customers to re-book travel to and from airports throughout the region where Harvey is set to make landfall this weekend.
American Airlines will will work with passengers traveling to or from Austin, Beaumont, Brownsville, College Station, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Houston, Lake Charles, McAllen or San Antonio, to re-book travel free of charge. The ticket must have been purchased before August 23 for travel between August 25 and 27. The customer can re-book between August 23 and 30.
Delta is waiving change fees and fare differences for customers traveling to, from or through Houston. Tickets booked for August 25 or 26 must be re-booked by August 29.
Frontier Airlines is allowing one-time itinerary changes for passengers traveling to, from or through Austin, San Antonio, Houston and New Orleans. Tickets booked for August 24 through 27 must be re-booked by September 18.
Passengers flying to, from or through Austin, Corpus Christi, Houston, Harlingen or San Antonio on Southwest Airlines can re-book or fly standby at no additional charge for all travel scheduled between August 25 and 27. All travel must be rebooked within 14 days of the original travel date.
United Airlines is waiving change fees and fare differences for passengers traveling to, from or through Austin, Brownsville, College Station, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Houston, McAllen and San Antonio. Tickets booked for August 25 through 27 must be re-booked by August 30.