Texans are bracing as Hurricane Harvey—which was officially upgraded to a Category 2 storm as of 1 a.m. Friday—barrels toward land. Experts are expecting the storm to intensify, reaching Category 3 with winds topping 100 mph before it makes landfall Friday night or early Saturday.
The storm was 180 miles southeast of coastal Corpus Christi as of 5 a.m. Friday.
Joe McComb, Corpus Christi’s mayor, urged residents to take precautions during a press conference Thursday, telling those in low-lying areas to “get out of Dodge.”
He didn’t rule out mandatory evacuations and cautioned residents against waiting out the storm.
“I’m not going to risk our fire people and police people to risk themselves to get somebody out of the home,” he said. “They got relatives, and they got family, and we don’t want to put them in harm’s way because someone wanted to stay in their home.”
On Thursday night, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he had spoken with President Trump, the head of Homeland Security, and the head of FEMA about preparations for the storm.
Harvey is expected to make landfall 250 miles southeast of Corpus Christi but hurricane warnings are in place from Brownsville to Houston. Tropical-storm warnings extended as far inland as San Antonio.
As of Friday morning, both the Port of Corpus Christi and that of Galveston had closed, three cruise ships from Galveston had been diverted to safer waters, and Abbott had requested 700 National Guard members and there were warning of isolated tornadoes.