Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane roaring out of the Gulf of Mexico, continues to barrel toward the Texas coastline. Authorities warned residents to take shelter from what could be life-threatening winds and floods.
The National Hurricane Center updated Harvey from a Category 3 hurricane in an early Friday evening update, adding that sustained hurricane-force winds were spreading into the middle Texas coast. Maximum sustained winds were hitting 130 mph, the NHC said.
The maximum sustained winds have increased to about 125 mph with higher gusts, the NHC said. “Catastrophic flooding” is expected from the severe rainfall and storm surge.
Tens of thousands of residents lost power even before the eye of the hurricane moved ashore.
The middle and upper coasts of Texas are expected to get 15 to 30 inches of rainfall from Harvey, with some areas receiving up to 40 inches, the NHC reported.
Harvey is set to make landfall Friday night or early Saturday on the central Texas coast, where Corpus Christi and Houston are home to some of the biggest U.S. refineries. Oil and gas operations have already been affected, and gasoline prices have spiked.
“Now is the time to urgently hide from the wind. Failure to adequately shelter may result in serious injury, loss of life, or immense human suffering,” the National Weather Service said.