HOUSTON —Hurricane Harvey has weakened since it hit South Texas head-on late Friday but forecasters say water levels will still rise as torrential rain and blasting winds continue over the next days.
The powerful eye wall of Harvey initially reached land by 11 p.m. ET between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas, with the then-Category 4 storm packing winds of more than 130 mph. Harvey was downgraded to a still-dangerous Category 2 hurricane around 4 a.m. ET when winds dropped to 110 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. It was the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Charley in 2004.
In the Houston area, the strong storm has triggered evacuations in several counties and neighborhoods. NWS Houston confirms that a tornado touched down in Sienna Plantation.
According to the National Weather Service, Harvey is expected to bring heavy rains and dangerous storm surges that have a potential to create a life-threatening flood situation throughout Houston and surrounding areas.
Hurricane Hunters are finding pressure values as low as 943 mb while penetrating through the eyewall, and surveying the center of the system. Exterior tropical rain bands from Harvey have started to move onshore this morning across the coast of southeast Texas.
Click here to follow our interactive weather radar.
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) August 25, 2017
What you need to do:
The Harris County Flood Control District offers the following safety tips:
- Make sure storm drains and culverts are clear from debris. Clogged drains and culverts can prevent water from traveling to the bayous and tributaries, causing street flooding, and possible house flooding, depending on the amount of rain we receive.
- Debris should NOT be discarded in areas bayous, streams and ditches. Debris should be put in trash bins and then brought inside into garages or backyards, away from drainage ditches and storm sewers.
- Winds can cause trees and branches to fall; trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
- In areas that normally experience flooding, move vehicles to driveways or in parking garages as the storm approaches.
- Secure patio furniture and any loose items that may be picked up by heavy winds.
- Take video of all your belongings and important documents in case they become damaged and needed for insurance claims.
- Never drive into high water. Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Less than two feet of water can float and wash away a vehicle. Be especially cautious at underpasses and at night when water across roadways can be difficult to see.
- This flooding event is a reminder that all residents in this area should carry flood insurance. Contact your insurance agent for more information about purchasing flood insurance, or visit the National Flood Insurance Program at www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program or call 1-888-379-9531. Please keep in mind that new insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect.
The Flood Control District urges all residents to monitor rainfall and bayou water levels on its Harris County Flood Warning System website at www.harriscountyfws.org. It is important for Harris County residents to be aware of conditions near their workplaces, schools and homes. Stay tuned to messages from emergency officials– distributed through the various media outlets. Be sure to also follow us on Twitter @HCFCD for live updates.