Friday, August 25, 2017

Hurricane Harvey intensifies as it roars toward Texas

Hurricane Harvey intensified to Category 2 by early Friday as it moved toward Texas, with meteorologists forecasting the storm could become a "major hurricane" when it makes landfall later in the day or Saturday.
No storm that strong has hit Texas since 2008.
Harvey is expected to stall after it hits land, dumping torrential rain over southeast Texas through Tuesday and causing potentially historic flooding, NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins said.
In its 5 a.m. ET update, the National Hurricane Center warned Harvey was "dangerously approaching" the Texas coast. The storm had picked up more power as it reached about 180 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, with maximum sustained winds strengthening to 105 mph, according to the agency.
It warned that "life-threatening and devastating flooding" was expected near the coast because of heavy rain and storm surge.
"Harvey is expected to become a major hurricane before it reaches the middle Texas coast," it added.
Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said no mandatory evacuations were in effect, but he urged residents in low-lying parts of the coastal city to leave.
"We are going to in the strongest possible terms encourage the residents in the low-lying areas, as they say, to get out of Dodge," McComb said at a news conference.
At least 10 critically ill babies were flown Thursday from Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, more than 400 miles north, to ride out the storm, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.
"They made a wise decision to get them out as quickly as possible," said Debbie Boudreaux, Cook's director of transport and fleet services. "The problem keeping them there is the ventilation system they're on — the lifesaving ventilator — would not be able to be maintained without electricity."
In the town of Rockport, about 20 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, 90 elderly and fragile people were evacuated Thursday night from the Park Manor skilled nursing facility to its sister facility in Bee Cave, near Austin.
Johnielle Johnson, the Bee Cave facility's director of nursing, told NBC affiliate KXAN of Austin that a therapy gym was being turned into living space for 14 of the evacuees, while the rest will double up in rooms occupied by current residents.
"Life is unpredictable, but what is predictable is how we treat others," Johnson said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott activated more than 700 members of the Texas Army and Air National Guards, the Texas State Guard and the Texas Military Department.
"This is what we train for," Brig. Gen. Patrick Hamilton, commander of the Domestic Operations Task Force, told NBC affiliate KPRC of Houston. "This is Texans helping Texans — neighbors helping neighbors."
Dale Eck, head forecast operations for the Americas at The Weather Channel, said Harvey rapidly intensified overnight into Thursday. "I think the urgency of this just went up tenfold this morning," he said Thursday.
Eck said winds of 115 mph were expected, along with a "life-threatening storm surge" as it churns over the central Texas coast.

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