PINE BELT (WDAM) - Hurricane Harvey is now forecast to become a Major Hurricane as it drifts NW toward Texas. It is expected to make landfall on Friday night late or early Saturday morning - somewhere between just north of Corpus Christi to Brownsville. The forecast has increased the intensity due to multiple factors. Here is a look at how the forecast has changed during the previous 12 hours. The forecast track isn't moving much, but the effects the storm will have on Southern Texas continue to reveal themselves.
1. Rain Flooding will be the biggest concern with this storm. There is the possibility for up to 30 inches of rain to fall in some spots between Corpus Christi and Houston. That means catastrophic flooding is not only possible, but probable for some areas. Figuring out specifics on who will see that flooding isn't possible at this time, so make a plan for that NOW. Rain will begin as early as late Thursday night. The rain may last until Monday morning. Rainfall rates up to 3" per hour - or higher will be possible. A total of 18 to 24 inches of rain will be possible. This is life-threatening rainfall. Please treat it as such.
2. Wind Hurricane conditions are likely within the hurricane warning area late Friday or Friday night, with tropical storm conditions expected to first reach the coast in the hurricane warning area Friday. A Category Three storm is forecast to move ashore between Corpus Christi and Angleton with wind speeds possibly at or above 110mph. If you live along the coast make preparations NOW to protect life and property. Board up windows and secure loose items outside of your home. From the Corpus Christi NWS Office: - Peak Wind Forecast: 75-95 mph with gusts to 125 mph - Window for Tropical Storm force winds: Friday afternoon until Monday morning - Window for Hurricane force winds: Friday evening until Sunday evening
3. Storm Surge The National Weather Service says that the "storm surge threat has increased" from the previous issuance. The storm will push water from the Gulf of Mexico inland. At the peak of Storm Surge inundation there could be up to 7 to 10 feet of water above ground level somewhere within surge prone areas. This will begin as early as Friday afternoon. From the NWS: "Life-threatening inundation is possible. Failure to heed evacuation orders may result in serious injury, significant loss of life, or immense human suffering. Leave if evacuation orders are given for your area. Consider voluntary evacuation if recommended. Poor decisions may result in being cut off or needlessly risk lives."
Most of the modeling continues to show a similar story. While the intensification modeling has had to catch up to real life reading, the forecast track guidance is roughly unchanged. The explosion of convection last night allowed Harvey to speed up a bit and shuffle a bit to the north, but the general trend of landfall in southern Texas between Corpus Christi and Houston is still the same. Through the day today, more short-range modeling will be available to meteorologists in order to get a better handle on specifics. Looking at some of the factors that control hurricane development, here is the brief rundown:
- Local areas of atmospheric shear have subsided
- Water temperatures remain quite warm (in the upper 80s) at the surface and at depth (26-degree Celsius isotherm depth at 60 meters to 100 meters)
- Water vapor imagery shows no pockets of dry air near the storm.
- Steering flow is weak, allowing the storm to meander over warm waters
There are a lot of places to get weather information. Always trust your local National Weather Service office and Emergency Managers, the National Hurricane Center, and local media to give you the immediate life-saving information.