Harvey Makes Landfall Friday Night As Category 4 Hurricane | KERA News

Harvey Makes Landfall Friday Night As Category 4 Hurricane

Aug 25, 2017

For updates from Saturday, click here.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall as Category 4 storm with 130 mph sustained winds near Rockport, Texas, the National Hurricane Center reported at 10 p.m. Friday. 

An hour before, President Trump announced that he granted Gov. Abbott's request for a presidential disaster declaration, which allows for individual assistance and federal reimbursement for state costs, KUT reported. 

After making landfall, Harvey is projected to move inland and then eastward. The storm is forecast to then slow dramatically, Mike Brennan with the National Hurricane Center told KUT, causing heavy rainfall and "life-threatening flooding conditions."

Harvey quickly grew Thursday from a tropical depression into a Category 1 hurricane, and then developed into a Category 2 storm early Friday. By Friday afternoon, it had become a Category 3 storm before strengthening to a Category 4.

Harvey would be the first major hurricane to hit Texas since Ike in September 2008 brought winds of 110 mph to the Galveston and Houston areas and left $22 billion in damage.

According to the National Weather Service, the last time a Category 4 storm hit Texas was Hurricane Carla in 1961.

Coastal residents escape

State emergency officials identified at least eight counties and seven cities that issued mandatory evacuations, the Associated Press reported Friday. More than a dozen others were under voluntary evacuations.

Texas Public Radio spoke with residents of Corpus Christi making their way to safety in San Antonio.

Folks traveled even farther from Harvey's path to North Texas. KERA's Courtney Collins talked with people at D-FW area rest stops Friday. 

Perla Licona and her 15 family members are planning to stay in a hotel in Dallas and wait out the storm. She lives in Pasadena, a suburb southeast of Houston. She's called the area home for years, and still shudders when she thinks of the flooding from Tropical Storm Allison back in 2001.

"My house was flooded with Allison three feet. Whenever it rains a few inches, it floods a little bit this street. With what, 12 inches? I don't want to risk it,” she says.

Perla Licona and family.
Credit Courtney Collins / KERA news

It's unclear exactly how many Texans along the coast have heeded evacuation warnings, but thousands headed north on Friday, the Associated Press reported.

Gov. Greg Abbott urged anyone who could to leave the Gulf Coast, but Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called for his residents to stay put and stay safe. For more on the mixed messages, read this story from the Texas Tribune.

Airbnb said it was waiving fees for coastal evacuees who are in the path of the hurricane. 

Dallas opens shelter, takes donations for evacuees

Dallas opened a shelter for hurricane evacuees Friday per the request of state officials. 

The city's Office of Emergency Management opened a shelter in the Walnut Hill Recreation Center at 10011 Midway Road, according to a news release. The shelter will be able to hold up to 500 people. 

The Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center could also be used as an emergency shelter if needed — the center's parking structure would be used as a shelter. Events or shows currently booked will not be affected.

All other shelters would be consolidated into a "mega shelter" at the convention center, if needed.  

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Friday that Trusted World Foundation will be taking donations starting Saturday at 8 a.m. 

North Texas weather impact

North Texas won’t be severely affected, but rain chances hinge on Harvey, WFAA meteorologist Pete Delkus said. Some rain, cloud cover and cooler temperatures are expected over the weekend. 

The National Weather Service said strong winds could be possible in North Texas on Saturday.

Abbott takes precautions

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday sent a letter to President Trump requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration. U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz also sent a letter to Trump urging him to grant Abbott's request.

Trump granted it later Friday night. In a White House briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump may visit Texas next week.

During a news conference Friday, Abbott said all state parks would be available to evacuees for free during the emergency period. Listen to the full news conference below.

On Thursday, Abbott activated about 700 members of the state National Guard ahead of Hurricane Harvey making landfall.

The day before, he ordered the State Operations Center to elevate its readiness level and is making state resources available for preparation and possible rescue and recovery actions. He also preemptively declared a state of disaster for 30 counties on or near the coast to speed deployment of state resources.

Texas may be hit twice

Forecasters said there's a good chance Hurricane Harvey may hit Texas twice, worsening projected flooding. 

The Associated Press reported Friday: 

"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.

"Jeff Masters, Weather Underground's meteorology director, said this could cause a collision of high water with nowhere to go. Harvey is projected to drop up to 3 feet (0.91 meter) of rain in some places over the next several days.

"But a second landfall near Houston means more storm surge coming from the Gulf. Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water above the normal tide, generated by a storm."

Track Harvey's path

Flights re-scheduled

Several airlines are allowing customers to re-book their flights, KUT reported. Waived fee dates range from today until Sunday. Travelers are urged to contact their airline for more information.

Below are links to airlines’ refund policies.

Is Texas ready?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a rough hurricane season for Texas. Here’s why it’s not ready for it.