By Nicole Chaves and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
As Hurricane Harvey gains strength, residents along the Texas coast aren’t taking any chances; they’re filling sandbags, stocking up on water and boarding up windows.
Corpus Christi, where Harvey will likely make landfall, has cleared Friday’s dockets in city court and is providing self-serve sandbags to residents.
Port Aransas on Mustang Island is under mandatory evacuation orders.
Houston, meanwhile, has canceled the first day of school on Monday.
(Major hurricane forecasted to hit Texas. Courtesy of Fox News and YouTube)
Harvey is rapidly strengthening and is forecast to become a Category 3 hurricane with winds of at least 111 mph by the time it hits the middle Texas coast late Friday or early Saturday, the hurricane center said Thursday.
After hitting Corpus Christi, the storm is expected to stall over the state, forecasters say.
Hurricane-force winds are a concern as the storm builds strength in the Gulf of Mexico, and a potential deluge and subsequent flooding may be a big danger as well, according to meteorologists.
“Harvey is likely to bring multiple hazards, including heavy rainfall, storm surge and possible hurricane conditions to portions of the Texas coast beginning on Friday,” the National Weather Service said.
(Increasing concern that Harvey will become a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) before making landfall Friday night. Courtesy of The Weather Network and YouTube)
Slow storm means more rain
At 2 p.m. ET, Harvey was a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds.
It was about 335 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, and was moving north-northwest at 10 mph.
It’s expected to bring 12 to 20 inches of rain to the Texas coast, with isolated instances where rainfall totals could reach 30 inches, the weather service said.
‘It scares the hell out of people’
As Harvey churned toward Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster Wednesday in 30 counties along the Gulf of Mexico.
The governor’s action allows agencies to “quickly deploy resources for the emergency response.”
“Texans believe in taking action and always being prepared in the event of an emergency,” Abbott said.
“That is why I am taking every precaution prior to … Harvey making landfall.”