Texas residents woke up Saturday morning to the monstrous damage caused by Hurricane Harvey as the then-Category 4 storm slammed into the coast with winds of 130mph and a storm surge of 13 feet causing buildings to collapse, several to be injured and leaving more than 300,000 without power.
The hurricane made landfall around 10pm local time between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, as waves flooded onto roads, roofs were sent flying into the air and residents in the storm’s path were told to label themselves in case they died.
Residents were told to head north to cities such as San Antonio, which is a federally and state-designated evacuation center. Texas state parks are open to hurricane evacuees to camp for free and 12 campgrounds and RV parks were made available for Hurricane Harvey evacuees. Some have even headed east to evacuation centers in Louisiana.
All seven counties on the Texas coast from Corpus Christi to the western end of Galveston Island were under mandatory evacuations from low-lying areas. Four counties ordered full evacuations and warned there was no guarantee of rescue for those choosing to stay behind.
As of Saturday morning, Harvey was downgraded to a Category 1 storm with winds of up to 75mph and is expected to weaken into a tropical storm later in the day. At least 10 people have been injured after the roof of a single story senior housing complex collapsed – but the extent of the injuries are unknown.
And although Harvey may be weakening as it slows down over Texas, the threat of ‘catastrophic’ flooding will persist into next week. Almost 10 inches have fallen thus far and, by storm’s end, more than 40 inches of rain is expected to fall.
President Donald Trump signed a disaster proclamation from the Camp David retreat and tweeted on Saturday morning that the government was ‘closely monitoring’ the storm.
‘We are leaving nothing to chance. City, State and Federal Govs. working great together!’ he wrote
To Texas Senator Chuck Grassley he tweeted: ‘[G]ot your message loud and clear. We have fantastic people on the ground, got there long before #Harvey. So far, so good!’
State Governor Greg Abbott warned that Hurricane Harvey would be ‘a major disaster’ before the storm barreled into the state with violent winds and massive rainfall, all on top of storm surges up to 13 feet.
Harvey is the strongest storm to hit the US in 12 years and the National Weather Service warned that this was the ‘start of many difficult days to come’.
Despite the storm’s weekend, forecasters say that Harvey’s impact will be devastating and leave areas ‘uninhabitable for weeks or months’.
Coastal cities continue to remain in danger of a potentially deadly 13-foot storm surge as Harvey moves northwest at about six mph.
And Harvey isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The storm will penetrate inland approximately 20 or 30 miles from its current position until it heads northeast around Thursday.
Even before the storm made landfall, reports of damage were trickling in from the coastal region.
A Rockport, a city of 10,000, took a direct hit as some buildings collapsed and guests who were hunkered down in hotels said they could feel the tall buildings sway under the strength of the powerful winds.
Rockport city manager Kevin Carruth said to KHOU: ‘People are trapped inside at least one collapsed building. We can’t get rescue team to them right now.’
The building was a senior housing complex and the roof had collapsed on the elderly inhabitants, with a number being taken to another location for treatment later that night.
Carruth added that he had heard reports of a tree falling into a mobile home and roofs collapsing on houses.
Other reports claim that a portion of a high school in Rockport has caved in.
SOURCE: Daily Mail