Hurricane Harvey bashes Texas coast, leaving thousands without power, homes damaged, residents injured

(ABC News) — Hurricane Harvey is hammering the Lone Star State, although it has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm from its initial landfall status as a Category 4 storm.

The massive storm slammed into the Gulf Coast of Texas at 10 p.m. local time as a Category 4 storm, bringing with it a vicious wrath of maximum sustained winds of about 130 mph and stronger gusts, the National Weather Service reported.

Harvey made landfall over the northern end of San Jose Island between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor. At the time, the storm’s eye was 30 miles away from the coastal city of Corpus Christi.

The storm’s Category 4 status was relatively short-lived, though: About three hours after making landfall, Harvey was downgraded to a Category 3 storm after its maximum sustained winds decreased to 125 mph. Around the same time, Harvey made a second landfall on the northeastern shore of Copano Bay. At that point, it was 5 miles north of Rockport, Texas, and moving northwest at 6 mph.

Then around 3 a.m. local time, Harvey was downgraded to a Category 2 storm as its maximum sustained winds decreased to 110 mph. By 4 a.m. local time, the storm’s maximum sustained winds were 100 mph.

At 5 a.m. local time, Harvey was downgraded to a Category 1 storm as its maximum sustained winds decreased to 90 mph.

As Harvey pounded Texas overnight, details of injuries, structural damage, and power outages began to be reported.

Below, a round-up of what you need to know about the strongest storm to hit the state in decades:

WHAT TO EXPECT: RAIN, FLOODING AND TORNADOES

Rain — and lots of it. That’s what Texans can expect.

At 2:30 a.m., the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi reported that as much as 9.6 inches of rain had already fallen in Texas. And an additional 25 to 35 inches of rain through Wednesday is still being forecasted.

Tornadoes are also a concern as there is a high risk of tornadoes in the region.

A tornado watch was issued during the early hours of Saturday for parts of Texas and Louisiana. The warning was expanded inland and extended through much of Saturday, reports ABC meteorologist Daniel Manzo.

A possible tornado was spotted in Fort Bend County, ABC affiliate KTRK reported.

A flash flood warning was also in effect for several Texas communities, including Portland, Ingleside and Rockport, according to the National Weather Service.

And here’s a projected timeline for Hurricane Harvey so far, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service:

Saturday: Harvey roared ashore late Friday evening. The storm’s path going forward remains uncertain but it is forecast to meander near or just inland of the middle of the Texas coast through the weekend.

Sunday through Monday: Some forecast models show Harvey expanding across the Gulf Coast as it makes its way over southern Texas.

Tuesday through Wednesday: The hurricane could, according to some models, move northeast and then re-emerge briefly over the Gulf of Mexico before making a second landfall in northeastern Texas or western Louisiana.

INJURED RESIDENTS

The full extend of injuries overnight won’t be fully known until daylight, but around midnight, Rockport’s Carruth said a total of 10 people were being treated for injuries stemming from Harvey.

Among the injured were those at a senior housing complex, where the roof collapsed.

Carruth said rescuers were able to transport the injured to a local jail that was serving as a makeshift medical center.

DAMAGED STRUCTURES

Because the storm hit late at night, it won’t be until daylight that the damage it has caused so far is fully realized.

Images from KTRK show a gas station in Corpus Christi severely damaged.

Rockport Fire Department Chief Steve Sims told KTRK around midnight that he was unable to confirm the extent of the damage since a damage assessment had not yet begun, but cautioned “we do have considerable damage.” He said the assessment likely won’t begin until later in the morning.

Speaking about his own workplace, the fire department’s building, Sims said “This place sounded like a tin can rolling down the road.” The building has only sustained minor damage, he said.

Rockport city manager Kevin Carruth told ABC News that multiple buildings in the city had been damaged, including the courthouse and Rockport High School.

In Missouri City, Foti Kallerfis, a reporter with ABC affiliate KTRK, tweeted photos of roofs blown off houses and large trees down.

In Fort Bend County, Major Chad Norvell of the Sheriff’s Office tweeted, “Confirmed roof torn off by possible tornado on Vieux Carre in Sienna. Minor injuries reported.”

A subsequent tweet read, “Minor damage to other homes in Sienna. Trees down. @NWSHouston #HouWx.”

In Victoria, an Exxon station was also damaged by severe winds, and street signs were strewn across thoroughfares.

POWER OUTAGES

As of 1 a.m., more than 211,000 customers were without power on the Texas Gulf Coast due to Hurricane Harvey’s wrath, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the flow of electric power to 24 million Texas customers, representing 90 percent of the state’s electric load.

At 10:07 p.m., around the time Harvey made landfall, 104,000 customers were already without power, ERCOT reported.

 

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