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The Latest: Abbott says Harvey Going to be 'Major Disaster'


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Surf rises at Bob Hall Pier Corpus Christi, Texas as Hurricane Harvey approaches on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. The slow-moving hurricane could be the fiercest such storm to hit the United States in almost a dozen years. Forecasters labeled Harvey a "life-threatening storm" that posed a "grave risk" as millions of people braced for a prolonged battering. (Courtney Sacco/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on Hurricane Harvey as it takes aim at the Texas coast (all times local) 

2:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump is encouraging the public to prepare for Hurricane Harvey before it makes landfall in Texas.

Trump says on Twitter that he's encouraging "everyone in the path of #HurricaneHarvey to heed the advice & orders of their local and state officials." His tweet included a link with more information on the storm.

Harvey was upgraded to a dangerous Category 3 hurricane. The storm is expected to make landfall Friday night or Saturday morning on the middle Texas coast.

Trump was briefed on the storm earlier in the day and was expected to monitor Harvey during the weekend at Camp David.

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TxDOT crews install the final portion of a surge wall on TX-361 leading to the Port Aransas ferry in Aransas Pass, Texas, on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Conditions deteriorated Friday along the Texas Gulf Coast as Hurricane Harvey strengthened and crawled toward the state, with forecasters warning that evacuations and preparations "should be rushed to completion." (Nick Wagner /Austin American-Statesman via AP)

2:50 p.m.

A water management official says large "supersacks" of sand are being used to reinforce a damaged section of floodwall east of Houston and will be enough to withstand the storm surge Hurricane Harvey will bring.

Phil Kelley is general manager of Jefferson County Drainage District Number 7. He says there are also 20 pumping stations in the area of Port Arthur, along the Louisiana border, to absorb and redirect stormwater that floods the area.

The National Hurricane Center says Harvey has strengthened to a Category 3 storm. It's forecast to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday.

Officials discovered early this month that a section of the concrete wall in Port Arthur was damaged and cracked. The floodwall is part of a hurricane flood protection system that safeguards Port Arthur and several surrounding cities.

Kelley said Friday that he's confident the floodwall is reinforced enough to withstand a storm surge of up to 10 feet. (3 meters)

He says the area is "not at the mercy of the bayous or the tides" like other places and that the drainage district "can force our stormwater out of here."

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Hillary Lebeb walks along the seawall in Galveston, Texas as Hurricane Harvey intensifies in the Gulf of Mexico Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Harvey is forecast to be a major hurricane when it makes landfall along the middle Texas coastline. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

2:40 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center is practically running out of scary words to describe Hurricane Harvey and get people to get out of its way.

The center has called Harvey "life-threatening," ''dangerous" and "catastrophic." The head of the National Weather Service talked of "grave risk."

National Hurricane Center spokesman and meteorologist Dennis Feltgen says, "We're using every synonym we can find in the book. We hope they realize that this can kill them. And they need to get out of its way."

The National Hurricane Center says Harvey has strengthened to a Category 3 storm. The center says Harvey has maximum wind speeds of 120 mph (193 kph). It's forecast to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday.

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2:20 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center says tide gauges off the coast of Texas indicate that storm surge is already occurring near Corpus Christi and Port Aransas.

That news comes as the National Hurricane Center says Harvey has strengthened to a Category 3 storm.

The center says Harvey has maximum wind speeds of 120 mph (193.11 kph) as the powerful storm churns off the Texas coast. Forecasters are labeling it a "life-threatening storm."

It's forecast to make landfall on the mid-Texas coast late Friday or early Saturday.

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2:10 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Harvey has strengthened to a Category 3 storm.

The center says Harvey has maximum wind speeds of 120 mph (193.11 kph) as the powerful storm churns off the Texas coast. Forecasters are labeling it a "life-threatening storm."

The storm quickly grew Thursday from a tropical depression into a Category 1 hurricane, and then developed into a Category 2 storm early Friday. By Friday afternoon, it had become a Category 3 storm. It's forecast to make landfall in Texas late Friday or early Saturday.

The slow-moving storm is fueled by warm Gulf of Mexico waters. Forecasters are labeling it a "life-threatening storm" with landfall predicted late Friday or early Saturday between Port O'Connor and Matagorda Bay, a 30-mile (48-kilometer) stretch of coastline about 70 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi.

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2 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center says weather conditions are deteriorating along the Texas coast as Hurricane Harvey nears landfall. Water levels are rising and winds are already blowing with tropical storm force.

The center said Friday afternoon that the hurricane is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge, rainfall and wind to portions of the Texas coast.

National Hurricane Center spokesman and meteorologist Dennis Feltgen says, "The tropical storm force winds have already commenced on the Gulf Coast. You've essentially run out of time for outdoors preparations. You need to find a safe place and you need to stay there."

The center says sustained winds were still holding at 110 mph (177 kph). Forecasters have said it will intensify and make landfall Friday evening or early Saturday as a likely Category 3 storm, meaning sustained winds topping 115 mph (185.07 kph).

The center says swells generated by the hurricane are already affecting the coasts in Texas, Louisiana and northeast Mexico, and those swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions


1:45 p.m.

Evacuations underway in Louisiana

Officials in Vermilion Parish on Louisiana's coast have called for a voluntary evacuation as Hurricane Harvey heads for landfall in nearby Texas. Rebecca Broussard is director of Vermilion Parish's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. She says about 10,000 residents live in the rural part of the parish covered by Friday's voluntary evacuation order. Earlier, a mandatory evacuation was ordered for southern Cameron Parish, a coastal parish at the Texas state line, to the west of Vermilion. That order affects an estimated 3,500 people. Also, the City Council in the southwest Louisiana city of Sulphur declared a state of emergency Friday morning, in preparation for possible flooding rains from Harvey.

Harvey is forecast to make landfall in Texas late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm.

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1:40 p.m.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is warning people that Hurricane Harvey "is going to be a very major disaster."
Abbott said Friday that he's asked President Donald Trump for a federal disaster declaration.
Harvey is forecast to make landfall in Texas late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm.
Aside from savage winds and storm surges, the system was expected to drop prodigious amounts of rain. The resulting flooding, one expert said, could be "the depths of which we've never seen."
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1:30 p.m.
As if nearly 3 feet (0.91 meters) of rain over the next several days, up to 12 feet (3.5 meters) of storm surge and triple-digit winds aren't enough, Hurricane Harvey is also likely to spawn tornadoes.
Harvey is forecast to make landfall in Texas late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm.
The National Weather Service alerted that people to the north and northeast of Harvey's eye may experience tornadoes.
University of Miami senior hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy says tornadoes are very common during hurricanes, usually in the outer rain bands in the northeast quadrant of the storm. It's because of the way the winds blow and rotate there.
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1 p.m.
The mayor of the popular Texas Gulf Coast city of Galveston says the city is expected to be inundated with water from Hurricane Harvey.
Mayor James Yarbrough said during a news conference Friday that Hurricane Harvey is expected to flood downtown streets. A storm surge of 2 feet (0.61 meter) to 4 feet  (1.22 meters) of water is expected to inundate much of the city while up 8 feet could cover other areas. Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water above the normal tide, generated by a storm.
He says a leading concern is that high tide will occur Saturday morning, shortly after Harvey makes landfall, and the water is not expected to recede for three or four days.
Galveston was lashed by Hurricane Ike in 2008 and Yarbrough says a difference is that Ike passed through quickly while Harvey will linger and drop substantial rainfall.
He says utility lines and other infrastructure have been upgraded since 2008 to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Harvey is forecast to become a Category 3 by the time it makes landfall.
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11:50 a.m.
Forecasters say effects from Hurricane Harvey could be felt at far east as the Alabama coast and the western Florida Panhandle.
Harvey is forecast to make landfall in Texas late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm. It's predicted to slam into the Texas coast and dump torrential rains before moving eastward.
The National Weather Service says rip currents associated with Harvey could be a problem some 650 miles (1,046 kilometers) away in the Florida Panhandle.
Officials say that means there's an elevated risk for hazardous surf conditions over the weekend in places including the Alabama coast and around Pensacola, Florida.
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11:40 a.m.
Forecasters now say there's a good chance Hurricane Harvey may hit Texas twice, worsening projected flooding.
The National Hurricane Center's official five-day forecast Friday has Harvey slamming the central Texas coast, stalling and letting loose with lots of rain. Then forecasters project the weakened but still tropical storm is likely to go back into the Gulf of Mexico, gain some strength and hit Houston next week.
Jeff Masters, Weather Underground's meteorology director, said this could cause a collision of high water with nowhere to go. Harvey is projected to drop up to 3 feet (0.91 meter) of rain in some places over the next several days.
But a second landfall near Houston means more storm surge coming from the Gulf. Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water above the normal tide, generated by a storm.
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11:30 a.m.
President Donald Trump says he's keeping a close watch on Hurricane Harvey.
On Twitter Friday, Trump said he "Received a #HurricaneHarvey briefing this morning" from top federal officials.
In another statement on Twitter, Trump said he had spoken with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. He added: "Closely monitoring #HurricaneHarvey developments & here to assist as needed."
Trump tweeted Thursday, encouraging people to be prepared. Harvey is forecast to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm.
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11:15 a.m.
Corpus Christi officials say all flights out of the city's airport have been canceled as Hurricane Harvey approaches.
The city said in a news release late Friday morning that the airlines had canceled all flights out of Corpus Christi International Airport for the rest of the day.
The city said the airport isn't closed, but officials don't anticipate much activity over the weekend. Runways will be closed as conditions warrant. The hurricane is expected to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday morning.
The city says Southwest and United Airlines have no scheduled flights until Monday, while American Airlines hopes to resume service on Saturday.
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10:45 a.m.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says there's still time for coastal residents in the path of Hurricane Harvey to get out of harm's way. But he says they must leave immediately.
Abbott on Friday didn't second-guess local officials who have called for voluntary and not mandatory evacuations. He told The Weather Channel that mayors and local leaders "know their terrain very well."
Abbott has expressed concerns that not as many people are evacuating compared with previous storms as Harvey bears down on the state. Harvey is forecast to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm.
Abbott has activated about 700 members of the Texas National Guard in preparation for Harvey. The storm is set to be the first hurricane to make landfall on the Texas coast since Hurricane Ike in 2008.
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10:20 a.m.
Hurricane Harvey continues to swirl toward the middle Texas coast as it flirts with becoming a major Category 3 storm.
The National Hurricane Center's latest advisory as of 10 a.m. Friday places the storm about 115 miles (185 kilometers) southeast of Corpus Christi, moving 10 mph (17 kph) to the northwest. Sustained winds have been holding at 110 mph (177 kph).
Forecasters have said it will intensify and make landfall Friday evening or early Saturday as a likely Category 3 storm, meaning sustained winds topping 115 mph (185.07 kph).
Once the storm makes landfall, gradual weakening is forecast but because so much of the storm remains over the warm Gulf of Mexico, which fuels Harvey, the hurricane center says the weakening could be slower than normal.
That also means the storm is likely to be a huge rainmaker.  Predictions for a wide area of Texas from the coast and inland for rainfall measuring up to nearly 3 feet (0.91 meter) as the storm stalls and meanders well into next week.
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10 a.m.
An emergency management official on the Texas coast says a primary concern as Harvey approaches is heavy rain that could leave many towns isolated for days as they're turned into "essentially islands."
Harvey is forecast to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm.
Melissa Munguia is deputy emergency management coordinator for Nueces (nyoo-AY'-sis) County. She says there are vast flatlands just inland from the central Texas coast that are prone to flooding.
The approximately 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain that Harvey may bring could leave towns in the area isolated well into next week.
Munguia says that traffic backups were being seen Friday on heavily traveled roads such as Interstate 37 as people move inland to San Antonio and other locations.
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7:45 a.m.
The National Hurricane Center warns that conditions are deteriorating as Hurricane Harvey strengthens and slowly moves toward the Texas coast.
The center says preparations for the storm "should be rushed to completion" Friday morning along Texas' central Gulf Coast.
The center says the storm has maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (177 kph), just shy of the benchmark for a Category 3 storm. Forecasters say the storm is expected to reach that mark before making landfall late Friday or early Saturday.
Millions of people are bracing for a prolonged battering that could swamp dozens of counties more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) inland.
Brock Long is the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He tells "Good Morning America" that Harvey is a "very serious" threat and that the window for evacuating is quickly closing.
Long says he expects extensive damage from significant rain over the next three days.
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1:30 a.m.
Texas residents and officials are preparing for Hurricane Harvey, which the National Hurricane Center says has strengthened to a Category 2 storm.
Harvey grew quickly Thursday from a tropical depression into a Category 1 hurricane. Early Friday, the center reported it's now at a Category 2.
Fueled by warm Gulf of Mexico waters, the storm is projected to become a major Category 3 hurricane. Forecasters are labeling it a "life-threatening storm" with landfall predicted late Friday or early Saturday between Port O'Connor and Matagorda Bay, a 30-mile (48-kilometer) stretch of coastline about 70 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi.
Texas officials have been expressing concern that not as many people are evacuating compared with previous storms as Hurricane Harvey bears down on the state.

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