Hurricane Harvey has strengthened to a Category 4 storm, as Texas is bracing for impact later Friday evening.
The storm, which has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph with even stronger gusts, is expected to be the worst to hit the state in decades. The last Category 4 storm to hit the U.S. was Charley in 2004 in Florida, while the last Category 4 storm to hit Texas was Carla in 1961.
Residents staying in the area frantically stocked up on food, water and gas, while others heading out of the storm’s path boarded up windows and doors of their homes and businesses.
Airlines canceled flights, schools were shuttered while concerts and other planned events in Houston and coastal cities were postponed.
Even after the hurricane hits the coast, its effects will linger for days, with heavy rainfall through next week estimated to be as high as 40 inches in some areas.
“This is going to be a storm we talk about, unfortunately, for at least the next seven days,” ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee said Friday on “GMA.”
Hurricane Harvey strengthens to Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds
• Hurricane Harvey, powered by the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters and poised to strike the United States as a major hurricane, was strenthening as it swept toward Texas. High winds and rain are battering coastal and inland communities. Some power losses are reported.
• Gov. Greg Abbott warned at a news conference that the storm was shaping up to be “more dangerous” than previous hurricanes because of the potential for widespread flooding that could leave Texas in the storm’s grip for at least “a week if not longer.” The governor said he had asked President Trump for a federal disaster declaration.
• The National Hurricane Center upgraded the storm to Category 4 Friday, with sustained winds of 130 miles an hour. It could make landfall late Friday or early Saturday between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, the National Weather Service said.