MIAMI (AP) — Former Tropical Storm Harvey regained strength Wednesday as it approached the Texas Gulf Coast and could become a hurricane by the time it makes landfall later this week.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Harvey, currently a tropical depression, was likely to intensify as it moves over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and arrive in Texas on Friday. It was expected to bring heavy rainfall to parts of eastern Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
At 4 p.m. CDT Wednesday, Harvey was located 460 miles (740 kms) southeast of Port Mansfield, Texas. It was moving northwest at about 2 mph (4 kph) and had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph).
A hurricane watch was issued for the coast from Port Mansfield at the south to San Luis Pass, at the western end of Galveston Island, at the north. A storm surge watch was in effect for Port Mansfield to High Island, just up the coast from Galveston.
A tropical storm watch was in effect for Boca de Catan, Mexico, just south of the Texas border, to Port Mansfield and from San Luis Pass to High Island.
Rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches were expected over the middle and upper Texas coast and southwest Louisiana through Tuesday. The center announced a hurricane watch for the Texas coast from north of San Luis Pass to High Island and warned of possibly dangerous flooding.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the State Operations Center to elevate its readiness level, making state resources available for possible rescue and recovery actions amid forecasts the tropical storm would make landfall along the state’s Gulf Coast.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the campus of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi was the only area under a mandatory evacuation order.
Emergency officials asked residents along the upper Texas coastline to move or prepare to move inland. Those in low-lying areas were encouraged to seek higher ground, and those elsewhere were told to monitor official announcements closely.
Rice farmers in coastal Matagorda County moved quickly to harvest their crops.
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