HOUSTON — The National Weather Service issued a warning on Friday saying that parts of Texas “may be uninhabitable” for weeks or months after Hurricane Harvey unleashes what could be the fiercest hurricane to hit the United States in almost a dozen years. The ferocity of the storm has prompted a number of highly alarming warnings from the NWS, including advice that people treat this major hurricane as if it were a tornado and shelter in safe rooms.
Harvey became a Category 4 hurricane Friday evening, with sustained winds of more than 120 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.
Conditions were deteriorating along the Gulf Coast as Harvey strengthened and slowly moved toward the state, with forecasters warning that evacuations and preparations “should be rushed to completion.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned people that Harvey “is going to be a very major disaster.” Abbott said Friday that he’s asked President Trump for a federal disaster declaration.
Millions of people were bracing for a prolonged battering from the hurricane. Forecasters labeled Harvey a “life-threatening storm” that posed a “grave risk,” saying it could swamp several counties more than 100 miles inland.
Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), says the window for evacuating is quickly closing.
“Texas is about to get hit by a major hurricane,” Long said. “We’re going to see significant rainfall over the next three days. There’s going to be damage.”