The eye of Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast late Friday, the National Hurricane Center said, a Category 4 storm that that forecasters warned could cause “catastrophic flooding.”
The eye of Harvey made landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, near Corpus Christi, the hurricane center said at 11 p.m. ET Friday.
Thousands of residents had fled parts of coastal Texas ahead of the storm, and the state’s governor warned people to leave low-lying areas. The National Hurricane Center warned of 12-foot storm surges and warned of up to 40 inches of rain in some areas through Wednesday.
“It’s hard to imagine just how horrific and destructive this amount of water will be,” NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins said earlier.
The hurricane is expected to slow down and move slowly over southeastern Texas over the next couple of days, the hurricane center said.
Multiple counties and cities were under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders. In Corpus Christi, where a voluntary evacuation order had been issued, dozens of homes and storefronts were boarded up.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott earlier Friday urged people to leave low-lying areas and said: “If you don’t get out, you could be in the area without power, without water, without necessities for at least a week, if not longer.”
In Rockport, a city on the coast of Aransas Bay northeast of Corpus Christi, a tree fell across a mobile home on Friday and a family was believed trapped inside, the city manager said.
Rescuers were pulled at 5 p.m. local time for their safety, and it is unknown if there were any injuries, City Manager Kevin Carruth said. It is not expected that rescuers will be able to return until the morning.
Volunteer Fire Department Chief Steve Sims told the Associated Press late Friday that there were about 15 volunteer firefighters hunkered down at the city’s fire station waiting for conditions to improve enough for their vehicles to safely travel and to assess the damage to the city of about 10,000 people.
“There’s nothing we can do at this moment. We are anxious to get out there and make assessments, but we’re hunkered down for now,” he said.
President Donald Trump said Friday night that he signed a disaster declaration “which unleashes the full force of government help.” The declaration allows federal funding to help stricken areas.
Abbot activated more than 700 members of the Texas Army and Air National Guards, the Texas State Guard and the Texas Military Department ahead of the hurricane making landfall. He declared a state of disaster in 30 counties on Wednesday.
The last time a major hurricane struck Texas was in 2008, when Hurricane Ike hit Galveston as a Category 2 storm. Ike caused an estimated $22 billion in damage.