Hurricane Harvey Weakens Slightly After Landfall on Texas Coast

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in southeast Texas, near the small town of Rockport not far from the city of Corpus Christi, slamming the state’s Gulf Coast with strong winds and heavy rain over hundreds of miles of coastline.


Harvey is the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade – with winds of 209 kilometers per hour at the time of landfall.

The storm made landfall as a very strong category 4 hurricane, but has gradually weakened.


As Harvey approached Friday, tens of thousands of Texas residents fled inland to avoid wind and flooding from the threatening storm.

The National Hurricane Center called Harvey a “life-threatening storm,” though no casualties have been confirmed. Officials noted, however, that emergency crews could not get to many places due to high winds.

Rockport Mayor Charles “C.J.” Wax, in an interview Saturday morning with the Weather Channel, said the hurricane hit his town “right on the nose” and warned of “widespread devastation.”

He said some schools, homes and businesses had been severely damaged – some were destroyed.

By Saturday morning, almost 300,000 residents were without power due to the storm. Emergency services in the communities where Harvey made landfall are also reporting a loss of cell phone service.

Trump’s response

As Harvey began to push onto the Texas coast Friday evening U.S. President Donald Trump said he had signed a federal disaster declaration for Texas.

On Saturday, Trump said he was monitoring the hurricane from Camp David, the presidential retreat near Washington, and that city, state and federal authorities were “working great together” to respond to the storm.

He commended the head of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, for his handling of the situation.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the hurricane will be a “major disaster” and warned residents to prepare for record flooding. The storm has dumped more than 50 centimeters of rain in some places.

The storm is predicted to move through a 600-kilometer-wide swath of the Texas coast.


Authorities say the storm surge will gradually subside Saturday, but they still warn of “potentially catastrophic” rainfall that is likely to continue for several days.

Speaking on CNN, Long said his biggest concern was that some citizens along the coast ignored warnings from officials and have chosen not to evacuate their homes.

“Storm surge has the highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most damage. On top of that, we are looking at a significant inland flood event over many counties,” he said.

The mayor of the Texas Gulf Coast city of Galveston, James Yarbrough, said Friday the hurricane is expected to flood downtown streets, and the water might not recede for three or four days.

“We’ve all been through a number of these, this one’s a little different. …This one’s not going anywhere,” Yarbrough said.

The eye wall of Hurricane Harvey reaches Rockport, Texas:

Hurricanes usually weaken rapidly once they move inland, but forecasters say this storm will follow an unusual pattern — stalling over land, then probably moving back out to sea briefly and making a second drenching pass at low-lying coastal communities.

Harvey is expected to pour nearly 100 centimeters of rain over a wide area of the Texas coast during the next three days.

Brad Kieserman, vice president for disaster operations at the American Red Cross, told VOA, “I expect we are going to see major flood stage on probably every major river in the lower half of Texas.

“That is going to destroy homes, it is going to destroy businesses, it is going to render many homes to be uninhabitable. And I think you are going to see many of those rivers stay at major flood stage well past Labor Day (September 4),” Kieserman said.

The last hurricane to hit the southern portion of the Texas coast was 14 years ago. Governor Abbott ordered state emergency workers to mobilize for any necessary search-and-rescue operations.

He has preemptively declared a state of disaster in 30 counties on or near the coast to speed deployment of state resources.

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