Sometime late Friday or very early Saturday, a massive weather system named Harvey, possibly a tropical storm but more likely a hurricane, is going to hit southeast Texas. While it appears North Texas will avoid the brunt of the winds, rainfall and flooding expected, Harvey is still going to have a big effect on the weekend. Here's what you need to know as Harvey comes knocking.
Update: Friday 3:00 p.m. — As of Friday afternoon, forecaster have officially updated Hurricane Harvey to a Category 3 storm. The National Weather Service issued the following statement about the severity of the storm, which it calls "life threatening."
The city of Dallas has opened a shelter for those fleeing the storm at Walnut Hill Recreation Center on Midway Road. While the city has plans to open two more recreation centers to evacuees and can house up to 5,000 people in the convention center's parking garage, Dallas Office of Emergency Management Director Rocky Vaz said Friday that the city hopes only the single shelter will be needed. Corpus Christi's Gilbert Castro told reporters that he and his family left for Dallas at midnight, finally arriving at the shelter this afternoon.
In DFW, the forecast remains much the same as it was on Thursday. Harvey's landfall is expected to lead to cooler, breezy conditions in Dallas. Scattered showers are possible, as well.
The state of the storm.
As of late Thursday, meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center expect Hurricane Harvey to make landfall Friday night as a Category 3 storm. On the Texas coast, a storm surge of up to 12 feet is expected, and as much as 20 inches of rain and damaging winds are expected in the areas hit hardest by the storm. Port Aransas, a city on the Gulf of Mexico's Mustang Island, issued a mandatory evacuation order Thursday. Galveston and Corpus Christi called for voluntary evacuations Thursday afternoon.
While Harvey developed as a tropical storm Thursday morning, it picked up steam throughout the course of the day, thanks to warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, making it likely that Harvey will be the first hurricane to hit the state of Texas since Hurricane Ike, a Category 2 storm, hit Galveston in 2008.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott preemptively declared a state of emergency in 30 Texas counties Wednesday night, including Harris County, Galveston County and Brazoria County, which is set to be drenched as the storm heads north from the gulf toward Houston.
What does that mean for DFW's weather?
According to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, Harvey will become progressively less severe as it marches north. Tropical storm conditions, including high winds, heavy rain and heavy flooding as far north as Waco are possible but unlikely, and North Texas should only expect some breezy conditions, along with the potential for some scattered showers over the weekend, the NWS says. Weather oracle Pete Delkus of WFAA-TV (Channel 8) said Thursday afternoon that the majority of North Texas "will not be affected by Harvey."
Dallas is getting ready to help those stranded by the storm.
The city of Dallas' Office of Emergency Management said Thursday afternoon that it's ready to help those in need however it can over the weekend. Rocky Vaz, the office's director, said the city has prepared several recreation centers as shelters for evacuees but that Dallas hasn't yet received a request for help from the state. According to Vaz, Dallas' Search and Rescue Team is headed to southeast Texas in advance of the storm.
Several local hospitals are already taking in neonatal intensive care patients. Fort Worth’s Cook Children’s Medical Center sent an airplane to pick up 10 infants from a hospital in Corpus Christi, and Children's Medical Center of Dallas sent two planes to pick up patients.
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The federal government says it's ready to act.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn told a San Antonio radio station Thursday that he's been in close contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “I talked to the FEMA director earlier to make sure we were latched up at the state and federal level, and I’m comfortable that we are," Cornyn said.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump is keeping a close eye on the situation as well. "There's certainly someone at the helm," she said.