By the time Hurricane Harvey was
downgraded to a Category 1 storm early Saturday, it had already
delivered a 1-2 punch to the Gulf Coast of Texas, making landfall twice,
with powerful wind gusts and the threat of catastrophic flooding.
It was still threatening to be the most powerful storm to hit the Lone
Star State in more than a decade.
Harvey arrived late Friday north of Corpus
Christi as a Category 4 storm, packing 130 mph winds. It made a second
landfall about three hours later, according to the National Hurricane
By the time it was downgraded to
Category 1, it was moving slowly over east Texas, at about 6 mph. But
resulting floodwaters were expected to reach 6 to 12 feet above ground
level along the coast, and as much as three feet of rain was expected in
Rockport, a city of about 10,000
people, was among those areas. It saw damage to a senior center, high
school and other structures.
"Right now we're still hunkered down and can't go anywhere,'' said Steve
Sims, the volunteer fire chief in Rockport. "We've heard rumors of 1,000
different things, we can't confirm anything because we haven't seen
anything. We know we've got a lot of problems, but we don't know what
Those problems, and more like them elsewhere in Texas, were anticipated
at the White House, where President Trump cleared the way Friday for
"At the request of the Governor of Texas, I have signed the Disaster
Proclamation, which unleashes the full force of government help!"
President Donald Trump tweeted late Friday after speaking with Gov. Greg
Authorities are anticipating extensive
damage, including "structural damage to sturdy buildings" and "complete
destruction of mobile homes," according to a bulletin from the National
Weather Service Forecast Office in Corpus Christi. Damage is likely to
be "greatly accentuated by large airborne projectiles. Locations may be
uninhabitable for weeks or months." At least one county, Nueces, is
expected to be without power for up to a week.
Corpus Christi officials sought to evacuate stranded residents on city
"Anyone who shows up can get a ride," Lisa Oliver, of Corpus Christi
Parks and Recreation Department, told the Caller-Times. "We just need
your basic information and bring your personal belongings to stay at the
shelter (in San Antonio)."
Olga Mendez, who remembers riding out storms as a young girl, waited to
board a bus with her husband and their young daughter.
"My mom never leaves," Mendez told the paper. "We would just hide in the
closet or the tub. But we know it's important to get out now."
In the state's flood-prone, largest city of Houston, officials,
businesses and residents were urged to prepare ahead of Harvey. The
city’s geography – it’s low-lying and most of the soil is clay - makes
flooding a real problem.
When Tropical Storm Allison hit Houston in 2001, it was the most
expensive storm in the state’s history. Floodwaters destroyed research
projects and the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical complex in
the world, lost about $2 billion in damage.
On Friday, William McKeon, president and CEO of TMC, told Fox News that
it was all hands on deck.
“We’re here hunkered down,” McKeon said, added that he’s “never
surprised by the weather in Texas.”
But it wasn't the initial punch of the fierce storm that had McKeon
"The hurricane is elevating in strength
over us," he said. "We're not so much concerned with the wind as we are
with it stalling over us. It's daunting to think of how much rain we
Other hospitals in the area have been evacuating patients, FOX7 Austin
Ahead of Harvey, the city canceled two
big concerts – Coldplay and Mary J. Blige, as well as the first day of
school on Monday. Residents in Houston were urged to stock up on water,
food and other essentials.
McKeon said the hospital had emergency plans in place and had been
working with the city on communications and worst-case scenario preps.
Some hospitals on the coast, meanwhile, have been evacuating patients,
FOX7 Austin reported.
The "federal government is on site and
ready to respond," President Trump said Friday.
The tweet from the president followed an earlier one in which he noted
that he was "closely watching" the path of the hurricane.
"Just arrived at Camp David where I am closely watching the path and
doings of Hurricane Harvey, as it strengthens to a Category 3," the
president tweeted. "BE SAFE!"
Earlier on Friday, Trump said that he had spoke with Abbott and
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and was monitoring the situation.
"I have spoken w/ @GovAbbott of Texas and @LouisianaGov Edwards. Closely
monitoring #HurricaneHarvey developments & here to assist as needed,"
Landfall was predicted for late Friday or early Saturday between Port
O'Connor and Matagorda Bay, a 30-mile stretch of coastline about 70
miles northeast of Corpus Christi.
Harvey has been fueled by warm Gulf of Mexico waters.
To put the hurricane’s strength in perspective, superstorm Sandy, which
wasn’t formally called a major hurricane and still devastated New York
and New Jersey in 2012, didn’t have the high winds like Hurricane Harvey
and lost tropical status by the time it hit land.
"We're forecasting continuing intensification right up until landfall,"
National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.
Abbott, who has activated about 700 National Guard members ahead of
Hurricane Harvey’s arrival, said in a statement that Trump called him to
pledge all available federal resources to assist in preparation, as well
as rescue and recovery efforts. Abbott said he assured Trump that Texas
was working hand-in-hand with local and federal partners.
“FEMA stands ready to support state, local and tribal officials as they
prepare for Hurricane Harvey,” Brock Long of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency said in a statement. “I encourage residents who will
be affected to follow directions from their local officials. Know your
threats, heed the warnings, and if you’re in the path of the storm,
ensure your family is prepared for possible prolonged disruptions to
More than 15,000 people aboard three Carnival Cruise Line ships
scheduled to return to Galveston this weekend now face delays or detours
due to the hurricane. The Port of Galveston was closed amid the threat
of the hurricane on Friday.
A statement from the Miami-based cruise line says the Carnival Freedom
and Carnival Valor were at sea and would remain a safe distance from the
Fox News' Barnini Chakraborty and the Associated Press contributed to
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