As Harvey continues to gather strength and moisture, the hurricane is poised to stall over coastal Texas and unleash life-threatening and disastrous flooding into next week.
Harvey will have major impact in terms of dangerous surf, beach erosion, coastal flooding and damaging winds. However, Harvey is likely to be remembered for tremendous rainfall and days of flooding well after landfall.
Harvey is projected make landfall along the Texas coast as a Category 3 hurricane on Matagorda Island or San Jose Island, between Port O’Connor and Port Aransas, Texas, late Friday night. However, the shape of the coastline and physics may tug Harvey farther north at the last minute.
The storm strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane early Friday morning. The last hurricane to make landfall in Texas was Ike as a Category 2 on Sept. 13, 2008. Wilma, in 2005, was the last major hurricane to make landfall in the southern U.S.
A state of disaster was declared for 30 counties in Texas in advance of Harvey by Gov. Greg Abbott.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a statewide state of emergency on Thursday.
The decreasing forward speed of the storm will lead to long-duration rainfall and gusty winds. Harvey will cause much worse damage from flooding and wind than would normally occur from a swift moving storm of equal magnitude.
“Impacts from Harvey will be tremendous in terms of displacement of people, property and economic loss and travel and freight disruptions,” according to AccuWeather Vice President of Forecasting and Graphics Operations Marshall Moss.
Some communities could be under water for days
The event may be nothing short of a flooding disaster.
“Since Harvey is forecast to stall, we expect 10-20 inches of rain over a large part of southern and eastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana into early next week,” according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski. “At the local level, more than 2 feet of rain may fall.”
This amount of rain will lead to widespread flooding of streets, highways, bayous, streams and major rivers.
Because of the flat terrain, some areas along the major rivers and bayous may remain flooded well after Harvey weakens or crawls away later next week.
Soon after the storm begins, roads in low-lying areas may become flooded. For those in flood-prone areas, now is the time to gather personal belongings.
SOURCE: Alex Sosnowski