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Hurricane Harvey slams into Texas as Category 4 cyclone


CORPUS CHRISTI, Tex. — Residents of the Gulf Coast hunkered down late Friday amid dire warnings of a major natural disaster as Hurricane Harvey, having intensified rapidly into a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds, roared ashore just to the northeast of this South Texas city.

The National Hurricane Center reported at 10 p.m. CDT that the center of the eye of the cyclone had just crossed the Texas shoreline over the northern end of a barrier island about four miles east of the city of Rockport. Initial reports compiled by the National Weather Service said numerous structures in Rockport had been “destroyed” and described “buildings collapsed with people trapped inside.” These early reports, distributed on social media, remained sketchy as the storm raged into the middle of the night.

Here in Corpus Christi, a city of 320,000 people, lights flickered downtown, where many locals, out-of-town journalists and storm chasers had taken refuge in hotels. Local media reported roofs blown off homes.

The most intense winds appeared to stay just offshore as the hurricane crept northward, likely driving the worst of the storm surge flooding into the central Texas coast. City officials cautioned that the hurricane was expected to pound the city until well past midnight.

Harvey is easily the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Charley in 2004 and the first Category 3 or greater storm (winds of 111 mph or higher) since Wilma in 2005. Forecasters and government officials, scrambling to deal with a storm that popped up this week after being a mere tropical depression in the western Gulf of Mexico, warned of catastrophic flooding, ferocious winds and a storm surge that could reach 12 feet.

Soon after the outer bands of Harvey reached the South Texas coast, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Friday afternoon urged citizens to evacuate low-lying and coastal areas immediately. President Trump said Friday night that he has signed a disaster proclamation in Texas after Abbott sent him a written request.

“The storm surge, coupled with the deluge of rain, could easily lead to billions of dollars of property damage and almost certainly loss of life,” Abbott wrote. “It is not hyperbole to say that if the forecast verifies, Texas is about to experience one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the state.”

White House aides said that Trump would visit Texas next week.

Harvey is the first natural disaster faced by the Trump administration. Trump on Friday tweeted that he had spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana and was “here to assist as needed.”

Sen. Charles E. Grassley ­(R-Iowa) gave the president a warning via Twitter: “keep on top of hurricane Harvey dont mke same mistake Pres Bush made w Katrina.”

Here in Corpus Christi, city and county officials said they are ready for the worst.

“Game on,” said Mayor Joe McComb at a news conference. “We’re looking forward to having a very good positive result from this storm. We’ll get through this; we’ll be better for it because the community has been pulling together.”

But many residents were nervous as the storm approached Friday.

In nearby Aransas Pass, 66-year-old Mike Taylor said he was resigned to riding out the storm in his one-story house just a few blocks from the water. As part of routine hurricane preparations, the town maintains a list of residents who need help in leaving. Taylor, who does not own a car and lives with his disabled 40-year-old son, said he thought he was on the list.

No one came for him.

“Now, I am just out trying to find some groceries,” said Taylor, who was trudging along Route 35 in a yellow raincoat, even though all the grocery and convenience stores appeared closed. “I lost my driver’s license because I am nearly blind.”

Several hundred miles of the Texas Gulf Coast are under hurricane and storm-surge warnings. Harvey is expected to stall over the coast and could even drift back out over open water, drawing fresh energy from the warm gulf waters before meandering ashore again closer to Galveston.

That scenario would deliver historic amounts of rain to the region, with some models showing accumulations in feet rather than inches. Flooding is likely in and around Houston.



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Muslim Global: Hurricane Harvey slams into Texas as Category 4 cyclone
Hurricane Harvey slams into Texas as Category 4 cyclone
Muslim Global
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