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Hurricane Harvey, which may be the worst storm to hit the US mainland in 12 years, is expected to make landfall on Texas’ central coast late on Friday or early Saturday.

The hurricane is currently a category two storm in the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center said storm surges may bring life-threatening floods in and around Houston.

Harvey may bring 35in of rain, 130mph winds and 12ft storm surges, say forecasters.

At 10:00 AM local time, the eye of Harvey was about 115 miles south-east of the Texas coastal city of Corpus Christi, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. It had sustained winds of 110mph.

Harvey – which has been gaining strength – is likely to strike at the heart of Texas’s oil refining industry.

Oil-rich Houston, the fourth biggest city in the US, could face up to 20in of rain over the coming days, officials there said.

Meteorologists are warning of extremely high volumes of rainfall as the storm stalls over the middle Texas coast.

They say Hurricane Harvey could remain in the area, dumping rain until the middle of next week.

On top of that, the central Texas coast is likely to see a significant storm surge – this happens when low pressure at sea “lifts” tides to a level higher than normal, up to 12ft in this case, and high winds then blow the water in land.

Image source Wikimedia

The NHC said it expected “catastrophic flooding” across the coast and in some inland areas throughout south-east Texas.

Energy companies have been evacuating staff from offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Texan oil refineries on land are also shutting down in preparation for the storm. As a result, US fuel prices have reached a three-week high.

Joe McComb, mayor of Corpus Christi, a coastal city of more than 300,000 people, urged householders to take the warnings seriously and evacuate low-lying areas.

“I hope people will listen to forecasters when they say <<beware of flash floods>>,” he said.

“Flash floods can come quickly, and they can be deadly.”

According to the NHC, the wind speed is currently almost 110mph, though gusts are even stronger.

On August 25, the NWS said it expected Harvey to make landfall as a Category Three hurricane, out of a maximum of five.

If it does, Harvey will be the strongest to hit the US since October 2005, when Hurricane Wilma struck the coast of Florida.

Hurricane Wilma left 87 people dead, and was part of a record-breaking hurricane season that included Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and killed nearly 2,000 people in August of that year.

Hurricane Hermine has become the first to hit Florida in 11 years.

Hermine has made landfall in northern Florida early on September 2 as a Category one hurricane, bringing with it a heavy storm surge.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 51 counties as residents were braced for the dangerous storm.

Wind gusts reached 80mph on September 1, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

City officials in the state capital Tallahassee, which is in the path of the storm, said at least 70,000 homes were now without power.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

Tallahassee weather officials warned of the risk of flash floods and urged people there to move to higher ground, but winds have now started to reduce as the storm moves inland.

While the area is prone to storms and storm surges, it has not seen a hurricane in close to 4,000 days.

The last hurricane to strike Florida was Wilma in October 2005, which made landfall in the same year as Katrina and caused five deaths and an estimated $23 billion of damage.

Gov. Rick Scott said: “This is life threatening. We have not had a hurricane in years.”

He added that 8,000 members of the Florida National Guard were prepared to be deployed in the wake of the storm.

Rick Scott ordered evacuations in five counties in Florida’s north-west and called for voluntary evacuations in three other coastal counties.

St Petersburg was littered with downed palm fronds and tree branches, and low-lying streets were flooded.

According to weather officials, Hurricane Hermine will also hit Georgia and the Carolinas, and could bring heavy rains along the East Coast in the coming days.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for 56 counties.


Worldwide, the number of intense tropical storms has increased 80%, according to an article published by Science magazine in 2005.

According to recent studies, while the total number of hurricanes per year did not increase, the percentage of category 4 and 5 hurricanes did sharply increase during the last 35-40 years.

Most researchers agree that the warming oceans are the result of rising amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, also known as global warming. This process occurs when there are high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Global warming and hurricanes are linked because heat essentially is the fuel of these storms. Researchers have described hurricanes as heat engines that draw their energy upward from the warm ocean water to drive their winds; the increase in ocean temperatures is like throwing a log on a fire.Typhoon Haiyan Philippines


  • Typhoon Tip, October 1979: largest and most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded with wind speeds of 190mph, killed 99 people in its path across the Pacific, mostly in Japan
  • Hurricane Allen, August 1980: strongest Atlantic hurricane by wind speed, with sustained winds of 190mph, caused nearly 300 deaths in Haiti and severe damage in the US state of Texas
  • Bangladesh cyclone known as 02B, April 1991: at least 138,000 died and up to 10 million made homeless after a 20ft storm surge
  • Odisha or Paradip cyclone, October 1991: the strongest ever recorded in the northern Indian Ocean, killed about 10,000 people, mostly in India
  • Hurricane Katrina, August 2005: killed at least 1,836 people after striking states of Louisiana and Mississippi and was the costliest storm in history, causing $81.2 billion in damage (with wind speeds of 175mph)
  • Hurricane Wilma, October 2005: most intense tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin with wind speeds of 185mph, killing 87 people on its path through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico
  • Typhoon Haiyan, November 2013: the strongest storm recorded at landfall, with one-minute sustained wind speeds of 197mph, it devastated parts of the Philippines, killing at least 6,300 people