Hurricane Harvey hits Texas: What we know so far

‘Catastrophic flooding’ predicted as storm makes landfall and swiftly gathers strength

Images taken from the International Space Station cameras capture views of Hurricane Harvey as potentially the biggest hurricane to hit the US mainland in more than a decade prepares to make landfall. Video: NASA

 

Hurricane Harvey has made landfall in Texas between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, after swiftly gathering strength over the Gulf of Mexico.

Here is what we know so far:

- It made landfall as a category 4 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 130mph (210km/h).

- It was later downgraded to category 2.

- It is the strongest hurricane to hit the US since the category 3 Wilma battered Florida in 2005.

- The National Hurricane Center says “catastrophic flooding” is expected due to heavy rainfall and a storm surge. The storm is forecast to head towards Houston, the state’s fourth-largest city, which is prone to flooding.

- As many as 5.8 million people are believed to be in the path of Hurricane Harvey, as well as the heart of America’s oil refining operations. The storm’s impact on refineries has already pushed up gasoline prices.

- More than 100,000 people are without power, and people in the city of Corpus Christie have been told to boil their water.

- Thousands of Corpus Christi residents have opted to leave the city. They gathered at a city gym, where they were registered and taken by bus to San Antonio.

- Swells generated by Harvey are affecting the Texas, Louisiana, and north-east Mexico coasts.

- Multiple tornado warnings have been issued for the surrounding areas.

- The key concerns are storm surges and flooding, with the storm expected to linger for days, potentially depositing 63cm or more of rain in some areas.

- It is expected to hit close to Houston, the state’s fourth-largest city and one that is flood prone.

- US president Donald Trump has signed a disaster proclamation at the request of the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott. This will release federal disaster response funds and resources. Abbott has already declared a state of disaster in 30 counties to speed up deployment of state resources.

- The mayor of the town of Rockport, where the storm hit, has urged residents who chose to stay to write their social security numbers on their arms to make it easier for rescuers to identify them.

- In Victoria, about 85 miles (137km) north of where the storm hit the coast, mayor Paul Polasek told CNN he estimated that 60 to 65 per cent of the town’s 65,000 residents defied the mandatory evacuation order.

- Houston mayor Sylvester Turner says this is just the beginning and things are going to get worse.

Guardian Service