Hurricane Harvey has intensified at an “astounding” rate, according to the National Hurricane Center. Harvey is now expected to make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane – the strongest to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
As it stands, the numbers look daunting: 35 inches of rain, a 12-foot storm surge, and sustained winds of 125 miles per hour are expected when Harvey comes ashore. The National Weather Service in Houston released a public alert stating that locations affected could be “uninhabitable for weeks or months.”
Interestingly, officials in Corpus Christi have not ordered a mandatory evacuation, despite the large amount of low-lying land in the city. “I’m not going to risk our police and fire people trying to drag somebody out of the house if they don’t want to go,” Mayor Joe McComb said Thursday, adding, “we are up to and almost at the threshold of mandatory evacuations, but we are not going to cross that line right now, we are going in the strongest possible terms to encourage the residents in the low-lying areas, as they say, ‘Get out of Dodge.’ ”
While those in the path of the hurricane should certainly evacuate if possible, those who stay should “elevate and get into a structure that can withstand potentially Category 3 winds from a hurricane,” said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Residents should also be alert and ready for the possibility of isolated tornadoes on Friday across portions of the middle and upper Texas coast.
Please read over these safety preparedness tips from www.ready.gov to keep yourself and your family safe:
During a hurricane
Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
Be extra careful when walking outside.
Storm damage such as downed power lines and fallen debris could injure you.
6 hours before arrival
Close storm shutters if possible and stay away from windows.
Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary.
If you lose power, food will last longer.
6 to 12 hours before arrival
Turn on your TV/radio, or check your local government’s website frequently.
You’ll get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
Charge your phone.
You’ll have a full battery if you lose power.
12 to 36 hours before arrival
Bring in outdoor furniture and other items that could blow away.
These may become a safety hazard.
Bookmark your local government’s website.
This gives you quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.
36 to 48 hours before arrival
Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit.
Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power.
For example, you can use phone, text, social media, or email.
Create an evacuation plan with your family.
You may have to leave quickly.