Hurricane Harvey Reaches ‘Major’ Category 3 Status Before Roaring Into Texas For A Late Friday Landfall

On Friday morning, Hurricane Harvey proved to be intensifying at an alarming rate, and the trend has continued. As of mid-afternoon, Harvey has surpassed the Category 3 threshold and now carries sustained winds of over 120 mph, thereby qualifying it as a “major” hurricane. The storm is still projected to strike the U.S. mainland just north of Corpus Christi, where power outages are already occurring.

Mandatory evacuations continue in many communities, although Corpus Christi is operating through a voluntary-evacuation policy. These social media video show the action already taking place from a holdout perspective.

Once ashore, Harvey shall hunker down as a slow-moving storm that could bring record flooding. When all is said and done, the hurricane could dump up to 3 feet of rain over Texas while moving eastward to Louisiana, where it will continue its deluge until at least Wednesday — news that brings great apprehension to New Orleans residents who are aware of ongoing pump-system repairs within their city.

The impending storm will be the first test of the catastrophe readiness of newly installed FEMA head Brock Long and the Trump administration as a whole. There have been whispers that Trump is planning to tour affected areas early next week. When asked by reporters outside the White House (while departing for Camp David) if he has a “message for the people of Texas,” he told them to be safe and wished them good luck.

In somewhat controversial news, the Texas Tribune reported on Friday that border patrol agents would not close roadside checkpoints unless it was necessary to do so for safety reasons. However, Texas Governor Greg Abbott reassured undocumented immigrants (in this MSNBC video) that they would be allowed access to hurricane relief without showing ID.

UPDATE #1 – 5:30pm EST: Trump has tweeted his arrival at Camp David and vows to watch all the happenings of the “Class 3” hurricane this weekend.

(Via CNN, KIII ABC & Weather Channel)