Harvey Slams Texas

Weather Channel

Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas with winds of 130 mph at 10 pm CDT.

Harvey is now a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds.

Harvey will meander for several days, leading to a threat of catastrophic flooding in parts of Texas.

Dangerous storm-surge flooding, damaging winds and a couple tornadoes are also threats.

Hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge warnings have been issued for parts of Texas.

Hurricane Harvey is now stalling over Texas, with the biggest threat of catastrophic flooding looming ahead, lasting well into next week.

Harvey made landfall Friday night near Rockport, Texas, north of Corpus Christi, as the first Category 4 hurricane to landfall in the U.S. since Charley in August 2004.

Harvey’s center of circulation is currently located near Victoria, Texas, only roughly 50 miles from where it made landfall late Friday night.

Current Storm Information

Current Storm Information

Hurricane and tropical storm-force winds are still occurring. A sustained wind of 57 mph and a gust of 83 mph reported Saturday morning near Victoria.

A Texas Coastal Ocean Observing Network station at Aransas Pass reported sustained winds of 102 mph and a wind gust of 132 mph Friday night.

Rainfall amounts of more than 10 inches have already accumulated in southeast Texas, including 14.46 inches near Austwell.

(MORE: Harvey By the Numbers)

Heavy rain has pushed as far north as Austin, where there was a report of flooding of a poor-drainage area Saturday morning, trapping one vehicle, according to the Austin Fire Department.

Bands of heavy rain have triggered flash flood warnings around the Houston metro area, where rainrates of 1 to 3 inches per hour have been measured.

Harvey has pushed water 2 to 7 feet above average tide levels near Corpus Christi to Lavaca Bay, and water levels remain elevated as onshore flow continues to the east of Harvey’s center.

Current Radar, Winds

Current Radar, Winds

Current Warnings

Hurricane warnings continue for inland locations near the center of Harvey’s circulation.

Tropical storm warnings are still in effect from Baffin Bay to High Island, Texas, including the cities of Houston and Galveston.

(MORE: First Hurricane Landfall in Texas in Almost Nine Years)

Tropical Alerts

Tropical Alerts

The NHC also issued its first-ever public storm surge warning, which is still in effect for a swath of the Texas coast from Port Aransas to High Island, mainly for residual elevated tide levels given the persistent onshore winds piling water from the Gulf of Mexico into the immediate coast, and bays.

Storm Surge Forecast

Storm Surge Forecast

Source: National Hurricane Center

Additionally, a tornado watch is in effect until 1 p.m. CDT Saturday afternoon for southeast Texas, as tornadoes will be possible, if not common, within Harvey’s outer rainbands. This watch area includes Houston, Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas.

A reported tornado damaged a McDonald’s sign in northeast Galveston late Friday afternoon. Numerous other short-lived tornadoes have occurred, but damage will take time to sort out.

What’s Next?

The circulation center is getting caught in a zone of light steering winds aloft that will stall Harvey. The storm will then meander near the Texas coast for days to come, unleashing tremendous amounts of rain.

(MORE: Interactive Harvey Forecast Path)

Projected Path

Projected Path

The projected path shows the expected track of the circulation center. Note that impacts such as heavy rain and storm surge can extend beyond this forecast path.

In addition, the persistent onshore winds will lead to high water levels on the coast and continued high surf. Gusty winds and saturated soil conditions may lead to more downed trees in the days ahead.

(MORE: Three Reasons Slow-Moving Tropical Storms and Hurricanes Are the Worst)

Devastating Rainfall Flooding

A tropical cyclone’s rainfall potential is a function of its forward speed, not its intensity.

(MORE: Water, Not Wind, the Deadliest Factor in U.S. Tropical Storms, Hurricanes)

With Harvey stalling several days, prolific rainfall, capable of catastrophic flash flooding, will result near the middle and upper Texas coast.

Areas near the Texas and southwest Louisiana Gulf coasts are in the biggest threat area for torrential rainfall and major flash flooding, potentially including Houston and Corpus Christi.

Local National Weather Service (NWS) offices have not minced words about the threat, warning of “some structures becoming uninhabitable or washed away” and “numerous road and bridge closures with some weakened or washed out,” with record river flooding expected in some areas.

Some at least areas of heavy rain may persist in parts of Texas or the adjacent Lower Mississippi Valley into Labor Day weekend.

(MAPS: 7-Day U.S. Daily Rainfall Forecasts)

Here are the latest storm-total rainfall forecasts from the NHC and NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center through next Wednesday. Keep in mind, locally higher amounts are possible where rainbands stall.

  • Middle/upper Texas coast: 15 to 30 inches, with isolated totals up to 40 inches
  • Deep South Texas and Texas Hill Country eastward to central and southwest Louisiana: 5 to 15 inches
Rainfall Outlook

Rainfall Outlook

Areas in red, purple, pink and white are in the highest threat for flooding rainfall from Harvey through the weekend. Some of this rain may linger into Thursday or beyond in some areas.

To put this into perspective, these peak rain totals are roughly the average yearly precipitation in Austin (34.29 inches) and Corpus Christi, Texas (31.73 inches). So, a year’s worth of rain may fall in the span of a few days near the Texas Gulf Coast.

This forecast is subject to change depending on the exact path of Harvey, locations of rainbands and how long it stalls. Generally, areas near and east of Harvey’s path are in the greatest threat of flooding rainfall.

(MORE: Your Vehicle Can Be the Biggest Danger in a Flood)

Rainfall so far, through 9 a.m. CDT Saturday:

  • 14.46 inches near Austwell
  • 13.82 inches San Antonio River near McFadden
  • 10.54 inches in Aransas
  • 10.06 inches in Edna
  • 9.91 inches near Fulshear
  • 8.17 inches near Bay City
  • 8.42 inches near Eagle Lake
  • 8.08 inches in East Bernard
  • 8.12 inches in Greatwood
  • 7.89 inches near Danbury
  • 7.50 inches near Columbus
  • 7.41 inches near Meyersville
  • 6.28 inches near Victoria
  • 5.39 inches at Houston Southwest Airport
  • 3.54 inches near Corpus Christi
  • 3.02 inches in Galveston

Storm Surge Threat

A storm surge of more than 6.6 feet has been recorded at Port Lavaca, Texas.

Prior to landfall, the NWS warned of structural damage to buildings near the coast, with “many washing away.” Battering waves riding atop the surge would lead to “extreme beach erosion,” and “massive damage to marinas, docks, boardwalks and piers” in the areas of highest storm surge.

As mentioned earlier, Harvey’s stalling and slow weakening over land will keep onshore flow in place over the middle and upper Texas coast and southwest Louisiana for several days. Therefore, additional coastal flooding is likely through multiple high tide cycles.

Here are the latest storm surge forecasts, according to the NHC. Note that these inundations above ground level are worst-case scenarios along the immediate coast if the peak surge coincides with high tide.

Coastal Flood, Waves, Wind Setup

Coastal Flood, Waves, Wind Setup

Furthermore, this water rise from the Gulf of Mexico won’t allow rain-swollen rivers and bayous to drain, compounding the inland flood threat.

Destructive Wind Threat

If that wasn’t enough, there’s the winds.

The NWS warned of “structural damage to sturdy buildings” and “complete destruction of mobile homes” where the eyewall of Harvey tracks.

Roads not already impassable by flooding may become blocked from downed trees or other debris. Power and communication outages will be widespread near and inland of the landfall in central and southeast Texas.

Potential Power Outages

Potential Power Outages

Furthermore, persistent winds, even if they are not particularly high-end when Harvey is over land, could down more trees than they otherwise would given the rain-soaked or flooded ground, possibly for several days as Harvey lingers.

Highest winds so far (gusts unless otherwise noted):

  • Port Aransas: 132 mph, sustained to 110 mph
  • Near Copano Village: 125 mph
  • Near Lamar: 110 mph
  • Rockport: 108 mph
  • Near Taft: 90 mph
  • Near Magnolia Beach: 79 mph
  • Corpus Christi NAS: 74 mph
  • Edna: 73 mph
  • Near Clear Lake Shores: 71 mph
  • Corpus Christi Int’l Airport: 63 mph

A Truly Historic Hurricane

Harvey made landfall Friday night near Rockport, Texas, a town of less than 10,000 people and about 30 miles up the Texas coast from Corpus Christi.

Harvey is this nation’s first major (Category 3 or stronger) hurricane landfall since Hurricane Wilma struck South Florida in October 2005, an almost 12-year run. A multi-day deluge of the Texas Gulf Coast with catastrophic and life-threatening flooding and destructive winds through could leave areas uninhabitable for an extended period of time, the National Weather Service has warned.

Harvey went from a tropical depression to a major hurricane in 56 hours. It intensified rapidly to a Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 130 mph after moving over a pocket of hot water in the Gulf.

Harvey is also the strongest landfall in this area, known as the Texas Coastal Bend, since Hurricane Carla, in September 1961, produced catastrophic damage from storm surge and high winds in Port O’Connor and Palacios, Texas, among other locations.

The only other Category 4 landfall of record near the Texas Coastal Bend was the infamous Indianola hurricane of August 1886, which devastated the town of Indianola just 11 years after another Category 3hurricane, eventually turning the former bustling port into a ghost town.

Check back with weather.com for updates on Harvey.

(MORE: The Weather Company Forecasts More Active Hurricane Season Than First Predicted)