President Trump said Saturday that he's closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey as it moves deeper into Texas and praised the government's response to the powerful storm and its potential for deadly flooding.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on Friday night, packing sustained wind speeds as high as 130 miles per hour. "Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes". It was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm by about 1 p.m. Saturday.
Jeff Masters, meteorologist at The Weather Company and co-founder of Weather Underground, told Business Insider that Harvey will likely cause $5 billion in damage, though the total cost could get as high as $10 billion. More, much more, is expected to fall. The Texas Bend is looking at over 25-35 inches of rain by the end of next week.
The National Weather Service in Houston was blunt about the rainfall potential for the area, saying "it can not be emphasized enough that rainfall of this magnitude will cause catastrophic and life-threatening flooding".
Texas officials expressed concern that not as many people are evacuating compared with previous storms. A flash flood warning was in effect for a handful of Texas towns and cities.
Forecaster John Tharp warned that Harvey could be one of the worst hurricanes to batter the U.S. in recent memory.
Hurricane Harvey strengthens to Category 2
It could even emerge back over the Gulf at some point.
When Hurricane Harvey makes landfall, forecasters have said it will be a category 3 storm.
However, that only means that its winds are weakening - Harvey is still expected to bring extreme rainfall amounts as it tracks into Texas, with the National Hurricane Center warning of 15-30 inches of rain by midweek, with local extremes of 40 inches.
"Life-threatening hazards will continue from heavy rainfall over much of southeastern Texas and from storm surge along portions of the Texas coast", it warned.
Help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Harvey, the first major storm of the annual Atlantic hurricane season, has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, crippled oil production in the Gulf and wreaked havoc on air travel.
Before Harvey the last major hurricane to strike the USA was Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
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