Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Downgraded to Tropical Storm — But Far From Over

Posted By on Sat, Aug 26, 2017 at 2:15 PM

NOAA
  • NOAA
Hurricane Harvey touched down on Texas soil around 10 p.m. Friday night with 130 mph winds, unleashing what experts are calling the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years.

Harvey quickly downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane after crashing through Port Aransas, Port Lavaca, Corpus Christi, and Rockport with Category 4 fervor, but has still left an expected path of destruction in its wake. By 1 p.m. Saturday, Harvey had stalled near Victoria, and downgraded to a tropical storm.

But Harvey's not done yet.

"While it may not be raining minute-to-minute, and while winds may down die for a minute, do not let your guard down," Mayor Ron Nirenberg told reporters at a Saturday afternoon press conference. "The heaviest rain is yet to come."

Flooding has quickly become the main threat for South Texas communities, with about 5 million Texans living in a flood warning zone and 12 million under a flash flood watch. The National Weather Service warns that this heavy rainfall will continue until Wednesday, and spur life-threatening flooding in areas east of I-35 and south of I-10.

At a 1 p.m. press conference in Houston, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a state disaster declaration for 50 counties — increased from yesterday's 30. This declaration allows more emergency funds to trickle into at-risk communities. Abbott said he hasn't heard of any fatalities due to the storm.

San Antonio has become a main evacuation hub for coastal Texans, with FEMA setting up shop across the city. Nirenberg said at least 1,100 evacuees have taken refuge in San Antonio's emergency shelters — and more than 350 people have been evacuated from coastal hospitals to local medical centers. The overflow may increase depending on how hard Harvey hits Houston, according to Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who spoke after Nirenberg Saturday afternoon. Wolff said there has yet to be any road closures in the county, but many are expected to shut down as water levels rise (check for road closures here & power outages here).

"The eyes of the world are on South Texas right now," Nirenberg said this afternoon. "Let's be focused, connected, and safe. And be proud that we're in San Antonio."


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