After it picked up speed Friday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center upgraded Hurricane Harvey to a Category 4 storm, deepening concern about the damaging high winds, coastal flooding, and truly torrential rains it’s expected to bring. The storm is expected to make landfall on the Texas coast sometime tonight, and then churn for several days over towns and cities including Houston.
Some areas could see up to 40 inches of rain — that’s near the amount of rainfall these coastal Gulf cities normally get in one year. “Rainfall of this magnitude will cause catastrophic and life-threatening flooding,” the National Hurricane Center warns.
Hurricane Harvey’s winds increased late Friday from 120 to 130 miles per hour (bumping its status to a Category 4 storm). “This is a life-threatening situation,” the hurricane center reports in no uncertain terms. “Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.” Counties and cities along the Gulf Coast have issued mandatory or voluntary evacuation notices. (The San Antonio Express-News is keeping track of all the locations in Texas under evacuation orders. Check out its list here.)
On Friday or Saturday, it’s expected to make landfall with at least 130 mph winds. These are the types of storms that can damage buildings and infrastructure and knock out power, and pose significant threats to life. The current track has the center of the storm hitting close to Corpus Christi.