Texas is preparing for Hurricane Harvey, which is likely to be the strongest such storm to hit the U.S. in over a decade. Currently a category two hurricane, it could strengthen into a category three storm before it strikes.
Hurricane Harvey is expected to make landfall on the middle Texas coast late Friday or early Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Harvey will then “meander near or just inland of the middle Texas coast through the weekend,” the NWS says. It’s expected to move north along the coast Tuesday and Wednesday before dissipating.
In part because Harvey is expected to move so slowly, the hurricane is expected to bring rainfall of 15 to 25 inches, with as much as 35 inches in some areas, according to the NWS. Storm surge is an issue as well. Overall, flooding could reach between six and 12 feed above ground level.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in all seven Texas counties along the Gulf coast. All citizens in four of those counties have been ordered to evacuate, with officials telling residents their safety cannot be guaranteed if they stay behind, the Associated Press reports. Tens of thousands of people have evacuated the area in total.
Even still, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told NBC affiliate station KPRC that some people aren’t taking the warnings seriously enough. “A lot of people are taking this storm for granted thinking it may not post much of a danger to them,” Abbott said.
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