Hurricane Harvey is now a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds. Houston’s mayor said he expects heavy rains but urged people not to panic.
The hurricane was 40 miles from Corpus Christi at 6 p.m. in Houston. It made landfall in Rockport a few hours after that.
You can see up-to-the-minute tracking maps here. Here’s the 9:22 p.m. update from the National Weather Service:
According to The Houston Chronicle, Hurricane Harvey was “the first major hurricane to threaten the coast in more than a decade.”
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Harris County. The latest hazardous weather update for the Houston area read, “Rainbands from Hurricane Harvey will produce gusty winds, locally heavy rainfall, and isolated tornadoes. The rainbands will become more widespread through tonight. Storm surge of 4 to 6 plus feet will affect the coast.”
The City of Houston reports that it “is monitoring Hurricane Harvey in the Gulf of Mexico. Houston residents can expect to see a significant amount of rainfall over the next five days, which will likely lead to flooding. It is important that Houston residents stay aware, and begin taking steps in the event Hurricane conditions affect our area in the next few days.”
According to the city, “Impacts to the City of Houston are expected to mostly be significant rainfall. The National Weather Service forecast currently indicates that Houston will see close to 20 inches of rainfall over the weekend and into early next week. This is likely to cause dangerous flash flooding, and will cause area flooding throughout the entire Houston region.”
“Flooding is the main threat to the Greater Houston Area,” KHOU-TV reports, not wind, at least at this point.
Here’s what you need to know:
Landfall & Category
Hurricane Harvey was expected to make landfall in Texas on Friday night or very early Saturday. That prediction proved correct, as it made landfall over Rockport.
The National Weather Service reported on August 25. “Life threatening storm surge inundation is expected, and a slow drift of the storm could result in catastrophic flooding possible, especially south of the I-10 corridor.”
The 7 p.m. update gave this data:
ABOUT 35 MI…55 KM E OF CORPUS CHRISTI TEXAS
ABOUT 50 MI…80 KM SSW OF PORT OCONNOR TEXAS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…130 MPH…215 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…NW OR 325 DEGREES AT 8 MPH…13 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…941 MB…27.79 INCHES
Reported the Houston Chronicle, “FThe hurricane is supposed to stall near or just inland of the middle Texas coast through the weekend. According to the weather service, the coast is likely to begin experiencing tropical-strm-force winds by 2 p.m. Friday.”
The city of Houston urges people to check out this forecast.
This National Weather Service has a detailed hourly forecast for Houston that includes windspeeds and many other data points.
You can check current weather warnings for the Houston area here.
The National Hurricane Center reports that hurricane force winds are described as “one-minute average wind speeds of at least 74 mph” and tropical storm force winds are “one-minute average wind speeds of 39-73 mph.”
School Closings & Evacuations
The City of Houston is providing updated information about the storm on its social media sites. The city provides a map for hurricane evacuation zones if it comes to that. The city reported on August 24, “Evacuations for this storm system in the City of Houston are unlikely, but may be possible for coastal areas. It’s always a good practice to know whether or not you live in an evacuation zone.”
You could register for the city’s emergency alert system to receive updated information on the hurricane.
The Houston Independent School District has postponed the start of the new school year thanks to Hurricane Harvey. Students in the district were scheduled to start on Monday, August 28, but the state’s largest school district will instead start school on Tuesday, August 29.
The district wrote in a news release, “All HISD campuses and administrative offices will be closed on Monday, Aug. 28 and all campus and district activities canceled due to the threat of inclement weather. Classes are scheduled to resume on Tuesday, Aug. 29. However, the district will continue to monitor developing weather conditions and will determine whether classes can safely resume on Tuesday. The district will make that decision by noon on Sunday, Aug. 27.”
Read the Houston/Galveston hurricane and severe weather guide from the National Weather Service here:
Read about how Hurricane Harvey was named here:
Path & Radar
The following watches and warnings are in effect for Southeast Texas on August 25: “A Hurricane Warning in effect from Port Mansfield to Sargent, TX Tropical Storm Warning in effect from Matagorda to High Island Storm Surge Warning is in effect from Port Mansfield to High Island Storm Surge Watch is in effect around Galveston Bay,” reports the National Hurricane Center.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the storm’s path is “is similar to that of Tropical Storm Allison,” which, in Harris County, “left 22 dead and 30,000 homeless, and caused more than $5 billion in property damages.” However, there have been false weather scares circulating on Facebook.
You can see updated Houston radar reports here.
This page by the National Hurricane Center has a current map that tracks Hurricane Harvey’s path through Texas.
Will Hurricane Harvey hit Houston? The Dallas Morning News reports that’s expected to be one of the hardest hit areas. “People are being advised to reconsider any weekend travel plans they have to the coast, and surrounding areas like Houston, where Harvey is expected to hit the hardest,” the newspaper reported. “Those living in the affected areas are encouraged to secure themselves and their belongings by Thursday night” August 24.
Forecast & Rainfall
There is potential in Houston for a lot of rain. “The storm’s sluggish pace increases the odds that Harris County – and areas across southeast Texas – could see levels of rainfall comparable to Tropical Storm Allison or the 2016 Tax Day Floods, but even more widespread,” Houston Chronicle quoted Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist with the Harris County Flood Control District, as saying.
“The potential here is for big rain amounts over a very large area,” Lindner said to the newspaper. “That’s something that’s somewhat unprecedented across the Texas coast.”
There are concerns about Houston refineries. Reports CBS News, “The Galveston sea wall is 17 feet high. A storm surge over that could travel from the Gulf of Mexico, into Galveston Bay, and up the Houston shipping channel, crippling one of the nation’s busiest ports. It’s also home to several major refineries.”
According to KHOU, “Houston is forecast to receive 5″ to 15″ of rain with flooding possible this weekend into early next week. KHOU 11 Chief Meteorologist David Paul warns some isolated parts of Houston could receive up to 30″ of rain, which means we will need to keep a close eye on our bayous.”
You can see the updated weather forecast for Houston here on the National Hurricane Center’s website. The center reports that “tropical storm conditions” are possible for Houston starting on Friday, August 24.
See a current graphical forecast map here.
Here’s the forecast, as of August 25, for Houston, per the National Weather Service:
“Showers and thunderstorms likely. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Cloudy, with a high near 84. Breezy, with an east wind 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.”
“Tropical storm conditions expected. Showers and thunderstorms. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Low around 77. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.”
“Tropical storm conditions expected. Showers and thunderstorms. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 81. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between 2 and 3 inches possible.”
“Tropical storm conditions expected. Showers and thunderstorms. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Low around 76. Chance of precipitation is 80%.”
“Tropical storm conditions possible. Showers and thunderstorms. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 81. Chance of precipitation is 80%.”
“Tropical storm conditions possible. Showers and thunderstorms. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Low around 73. Chance of precipitation is 80%.”
“Tropical storm conditions possible. Showers and thunderstorms. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 80. Chance of precipitation is 80%.”
“Showers and thunderstorms likely. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Cloudy, with a low around 73. Windy. Chance of precipitation is 70%.”
“Showers and thunderstorms likely. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Cloudy, with a high near 83. Windy. Chance of precipitation is 60%.”