MAJOR FORECAST UPDATE
As of early morning Friday, the National Hurricane Center upgraded Harvey to a category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 mph. Since last night, the stallite and radar images show Harvey has continued to show better organization and this is confirmed with a central pressure that is now down to 950mb. The official forecast still calls for Harvey to make landfall tonight as the first major hurricane to hit the United States since 2005, ending the longest such streak. Harvey is forecast to make landfall with winds of 120 mph.
WHERE DOES HARVEY IMPACT
As of late morning Thursday, Tropical Storm Harvey is about 350 miles south and east of Corpus Christi, Texas and is moving north/northwest at 10 mph. Hurricane Warnings are posted for Port Mansfield to Matagorda, Texas. This includes the cities of Corpus Christi and Port Lavaca, Texas.
Tropical Storm Warnings are posted from Matagorda north to High Island, Texas and from Port Mansfield south to the Mexico border. This includes Galveston, Freeport and Brownsville, Texas.
The central to southern coast of Texas will be hit by the strongest winds and highest storm surge. As far as timing, the official NHC projected path brings the center of Harvey onshore Friday night.
However, tropical storm winds arrive Friday afternoon along the coast, well ahead of landfall.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The area of highest impact from wind and wind damage currently extends from Corpus Christi to Port Lavaca and inland to Victoria, Texas. The highest impact from storm surge extends from Port Aransas to Surfside Beach, Texas. Storm surge is forecast to exceed 10 feet in areas around Port Aransas and Port Lavaca. Flooding from historic rain will, unlike the wind and storm surge, extend inland and impact all of central and eastern coast of Texas east into western Louisiana. Here is the rainfall forecast from this morning:
The rainfall forecast above is a seven day forecast. The pink bulls-eye represents the forecast area in excess of 20 inches of rain. This includes Houston. The National Hurricane Center is calling for isolated amounts of 30″ of rain with some computer models showing 35″ amounts. The excessive rainfall is a result of Harvey stalling in along the Texas coast this weekend and slowly moving over the northwest Gulf of Mexico early next week.
Harvey is forecast to hit Texas as a category 3 hurricane tonight with a slight amount of additional strengthening before landfall. Because of light steering winds, Harvey will linger for several days enhancing the flooding threat in eastern Texas and Louisiana, far away from the center of Harvey. By Monday and Tuesday, Harvey is forecast to return to the western Gulf of Mexico. If that confirms, some regeneration is possible along with a second landfall in the central or northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Harvey will cause significant problems in Texas and Louisiana tonight through Tuesday. After Monday and Tuesday, the area of potential impact shifts east and north. If you live near the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast, here is a link to WeatherReady Nation preparation tips: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hurricane/index.shtml. You need to have all preparations finished by Friday afternoon.