CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (CBSNewYork) — A hurricane warning was in effect Thursday for much of the Texas coast, as Hurricane Harvey gained strength at the Gulf of Mexico.
The hurricane is on the verge of becoming the strongest storm to hit the United States in nearly 12 years,
As CBS News’ Don Champion reported, Harvey — now a Category 1 hurricane — is expected to gain hurricane strength on Friday, and make landfall by early Saturday morning.
Mandatory evacuation orders have been posted, and hotel workers late Thursday went door-to-door to make sure no one was left behind.
Late Thursday, forecaster labeled Harvey a “life-threatening storm” and said preparation is key.
Earlier, people in Corpus Christi, Texas filled up sandbags Thursday ahead of Hurricane Harvey, which is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 storm.
“Cat 3 means winds gusting up to 130 miles per hour,” explained meteorologist Brooks Garner of CBS affiliate KHOU-TV, Houston.
CBS2’s Elise Finch reported by 8 p.m. Tuesday, rain totals are expected to amount to 27.5 inches in Bay City, Texas; 19.21 inches in Victoria, Texas; 16.48 inches in Houston, and 10.99 inches in Beaumont.
By 3:30 p.m. Monday, wind speeds are expected to hit 84 mph in Bay City; 59 in Victoria; 43 in Brownsville, Texas; and 44 in Houston.
Beaches in Galveston have been closed amid concern over high winds and storm surge. Forecasters said the slow-moving storm, which hit St. Lucia last weekend, could drop as much as 20 inches of rain along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Many residents stocked up on supplies.
“I’m just getting ready for the storm,” one resident said. “I’ve been through this before, so it’s always good to be prepared.”
The Red Cross is also preparing to help out people who have been evacuated.
“What we’re doing now is prepositioning supplies such as clean up kits, shovels, comfort kits,” said Debra Murphy-Luera of American Red Cross Greater Houston.
Galveston officials have told residents not to go outside this weekend unless they have to.
“When we start getting anywhere from a two- to four-foot tide with any kinds of rain, it causes severe street flooding because the streets just can’t drain,” said Brian Maxwell.
After hitting Texas, Harvey is expected to travel east to Louisiana, where it could dump 5 to 10 inches of rain starting Sunday – maybe more.
“With potential for double,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “This is what worries me the most the potential for double if we get stuck in prolonged rain bands.”
Back in Texas, the governor has already declared a state of disaster for 30 counties on or near the coast.
Harvey would be the first major hurricane in Texas since Hurricane Ike in 2008.