Houston Chronicle: Abbott Declares a State of Disaster for 30 Texas Counties
*This article appeared in the Houston Chronicle on Aug. 24, 2017.
The first hurricane to hit the Texas coast since 2008 could pound the state as early as Friday as an escalating Tropical Storm Harvey churns toward the Houston region, forcing emergency officials to brace for a major rain event.
The storm is expected to make landfall near Matagorda Island late Friday, according to weather service models. In its 6 a.m. Thursday update, the National Weather Service said a hurricane warning is in effect from Port Mansfield to Matagorda, while a tropical storm warning is in effect from Matagorda to High Island. That warning includes Harris County.
Its growing strength and directed path toward the coast prompted Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday to preemptively declare a state of disaster for 30 counties.
Harvey's main threat, meteorologists say, is its prolong duration coupled with heavy rainfall.
The storm is projected to move slowly across southeast Texas and then stall while dumping between 10 to 15 inches over the state's middle and upper coast for three days, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Reilly.
Before it makes landfall, Reilly said it's likely the storm could strengthen into a hurricane, bringing strong winds, tornadoes and flooding.
Emergency crews from Corpus Christi to Houston elevated their readiness levels Wednesday morning after forecasts revealed remnants of Harvey resurged into a tropical depression and continued to intensify.
By Wednesday afternoon, the weather service issued several tropical storm watches for counties near the coast including Harris, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Victoria and Wharton.
The service also issued 15 hurricane watches along the coast for counties that include Brazoria, Matagorda and Nueces. Those were upgraded to warnings on Thursday morning.
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