Hurricane Harvey Downgraded To Category 1 Storm
HOUSTON, Texas - Hurricane Harvey settled over southeast Texas early Saturday, lashing the state's Gulf Coast with damaging winds and dumping torrents of rain over hundreds of miles of coastline that braced for what forecasters predicted would be life-threatening storm surges -- basically walls of water moving inland.
Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a monstrous Category 4 storm, the National Weather Service said. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall by next Wednesday, with some areas getting as much as 40 inches, according to the hurricane center. Meanwhile, the storm surge could bring flooding of 6 to 12 feet to a coastal area that includes Matagorda Island and Port O'Connor.
As Harvey slammed the Texas Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center warned Texans to prepare for "life-threatening flash flooding" in coming days that could be "catastrophic."
More than 211,000 homes and businesses were without power early Saturday, leaving locals both in the dark and without air conditioning in the August heat. The National Weather Service warned that some residents may not be able to return to their homes for weeks or months.
"In terms of economic impact, Harvey will probably be on par with Hurricane Katrina," Brian McNoldy, a senior hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, told the Associated Press. "The Houston area and Corpus Christi are going to be a mess for a long time."
Follow along below for updates. All times are Eastern.
6:15 a.m.: Category 1, with maximum winds near 90 mph
Hurricane Harvey became a Category 1 storm with top wind speeds near 90 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported. Tide gauges near Port Lavaca, Texas, recorded water levels more than 6.5 feet higher than normal.
5:00 a.m.: From Category 3 to Category 2
The National Hurricane Center downgraded Hurricane Harvey to a Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds near 100 mph. Harvey is likely to become a tropical storm later today as it moves further inland, predicted NHC forecasters who also warned of "catastrophic flooding over the next few days due to heavy rainfall." .
4:30 a.m.: Emergency crews in limbo
Many emergency crews were unable to make rescues early Saturday because of Harvey's strong winds. Melissa Munguia, the deputy emergency management coordinator in Nueces County, which includes Corpus Christi, said early Saturday that it could be several more hours before crews could fully assess the damage in coastal communities.
3:40 a.m.: More than 211,000 homes and businesses lose power
More than 211,000 customers were without power on the Texas Gulf Coast due to effects from Hurricane Harvey, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas reported. The storm was downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane early Saturday morning, as Harvey's maximum sustained winds decreased to nearly 125 mph. Additional weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours while the center of Harvey is over southeastern Texas.
2:30 a.m.: Homeowner shoots intruder, cops say
A homeowner shot an alleged intruder in Corpus Christi just as Hurricane Harvey was making landfall late Friday night, Corpus Christi police said. Read the full story here on CBSNews.com.
The victim was taken to a local hospital, and was coherent when police arrived on scene, Corpus Christi police tweeted. According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, the victim was shot in the head.
1:45 a.m.: "Boil water," Corpus Christi residents told
In Corpus Christi, the major city closest to the center of the storm, wind whipped palm trees and stinging sheets of horizontal rain slapped against hotels and office buildings along the city's seawall as the storm made landfall. Boats bobbed violently in the marina. It was too dark to tell whether any boats had broken their moorings.
City officials notified residents to "boil their water prior to consumption (e.g., washing hands/face, brushing teeth, drinking, etc)" to kill all potentially harmful bacteria and other microbes. "Water for drinking, cooking and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes."
1:15 a.m.: Early details emerge from Rockport
Rockport, Texas, a coastal city of about 10,000 people some 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, was directly in the path of Harvey when it came ashore. The city had peak wind surges of more than 125 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Volunteer Fire Department Chief Steve Sims said there were about 15 firefighters at the city's fire station waiting for conditions to improve enough for their vehicles to safely respond to pleas for help. "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," Sims said, according to an Associated Press report.
Fire Department spokeswoman Gillian Cox told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that the roof of Rockport's high school has partially caved in. But Cox says social media posts that the school has "disappeared" are inaccurate.
Rockport City Manager Kevin Carruth told the newspaper that the courthouse also sustained major damage. Carruth said a cargo trailer was halfway in the building.
Earlier Friday, Rockport Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Rios offered ominous advice, telling a local TV station that those who chose to stay put "should make some type of preparation to mark their arm with a Sharpie pen," implying doing so would make it easier for rescuers to identify them.
12:30 a.m.: Facebook activates "Safety Check" feature
Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature for Hurricane Harvey, allowing Facebook users to inform friends and family of their whereabouts during the weather emergency.
Facebook users can also find the feature on their smartphone apps. As CBSNews.com sibling site CNET explains: "Safety Check is now integrated into the mobile apps, meaning you can manually notify friends of your status as well as follow crises worldwide and even offer support. The only trick is finding it. When Facebook does a server-side activation, you'll usually see a notification right at the top of the app. But if you want to access the feature yourself, it requires a bit of menu-diving."
12:00 a.m.: Roof collapses at senior housing complex
Several residents are trapped inside a senior housing complex in Rockport, Texas, where a roof collapsed, a city manager confirmed to CBS News.
A couple is trapped in a mobile home in Rockport after a tree fell on it, according to Rockport City Manager Kevin Carruth.
More than 32,000 homes and businesses have lost power in Corpus Christi, CBS affiliate KZTV reports. The city of Corpus Christi has issued a precautionary water boil advisory.
Large shipping boats in Port Aransas have broken away from their moorings, leading to significant damage, KZTV reports.
Storm surges up to 13 feet are predicted in some places with up to 40 inches of rain over several days. The National Weather Service warns some residents may not be able to return to their homes for weeks or months.
11:05 p.m.: Harvey makes landfall
The eye of Harvey made landfall just after 11 p.m. between Port Aransas and Port O'Connor as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds, the National Weather Service said.
9:51 p.m.: President Trump signs disaster proclamation
President Trump tweeted shortly before 10 p.m. that he had signed a disaster proclamation, which Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said earlier Friday he had requested. The disaster proclamation will allow federal funds to flow into state and local relief efforts.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm is expected to make landfall "very soon."
8:20 p.m.: Evacuees seek refuge in San Antonio
Hundreds of evacuees seeking shelter from Hurricane Harvey arrived in San Antonio on Friday, CBS affiliate KENS-TV reports.
Two shelters opened their doors Friday morning, and city officials announced they would make room for at least 6,000 evacuees.
"I get deep anxiety when it comes to stuff like this," Justine Vela of Corpus Christi told the station. Vela packed up her four children and left for San Antonio.
"My kids don't kinda know what's going on because they are little," she said. "I'm trying to keep them calm and safe. This is the best place for us to be right now."
7:45 p.m.: Trump prepares to face first major natural disaster as president
Hurricane Harvey will be the first major natural disasterof President Trump's administration. The White House is saying FEMA has changed since the organization's dismal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, CBS News' chief White House correspondent Major Garrett reports.
The failures of Katrina haunt emergency planners to this day, so much so, White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert felt compelled to say "now is not the time to lose faith in your government institutions."
"All the mayors and governors saw what happened at Katrina and they're not gonna let that happen," says David Paulison, who headed FEMA after Katrina and until 2009. He says that Katrina changed management procedures.
"Before we waited for the local community to become overwhelmed before the state stepped in, and waited for the state to become overwhelmed before the federal government stepped in," Paulison tells Garrett.
7:40 p.m.: FEMA urges residents to follow future orders
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials are encouraging residents and visitors in Hurricane Harvey's path to follow directions from local and state officials.
"I encourage residents who will be affected to follow directions from their local officials," Administrator Brock Long said in a statement. "Know your threats, heed the warnings, and if you're in the path of the storm, ensure your family is prepared for possible prolonged disruptions to normal services."
The agency has set up bases near Seguin, Texas, and areas closer to the storm's path to store supplies including more than 96,000 liters of water, 306,000 meals and 4,500 tarps and blankets, the Associated Press reports. State and local officials will be responsible for distributing the materials as needed.
7:20 p.m.: 20-30 inches of rain expected in Victoria, Texas
Victoria, Texas, is about 20 miles from the coast, but the distance is not expected to shield it from the worst impacts of Hurricane Harvey. Aside from winds up to 105 miles per hour, the biggest threat is the rain, CBS News' Manuel Bojorquez reports.
Victoria is in the bull's eye of Hurricane Harvey's rain, with 20-30 inches expected over the next 72 hours. that's a year's worth of rain for this city.
The flooding is expected to be worse than Victoria's 1998 disaster.
"We've never seen a forecast for that kind of localized rain, and I've been working hurricanes and emergencies here for several years. It's the most dangerous forecast we've ever seen," said O.C. Garza the Victoria Office of Emergency Management.
7:15 p.m.: Corpus Christi police stop responding to emergency calls
Corpus Christi police are not responding to calls for emergency
6:09 p.m.: Houston officials resist calls for evacuation
Houston is bracing for dozens of inches of rain, but officials are urging residents to stay put.
Judge Ed Emmett, Harris County's top official, said "no mass evacuations" would be called because the hurricane would not "directly" hit the area.
"Always say run from water, hide from wind, we mean storm surge, not rain. [It's] not the kind of water we would ask people to evacuation from," Emmett said.
Mayor Sylvester Turner also urged residents to stay off roads and in their homes. Turner said there might be "greater danger" in having residents who don't need to be evacuated onto roads that could possibly flood, the Associated Press reports.
6:13 p.m.: NWS issues "EXTREME WIND WARNING"
The National Weather Service in Corpus Christi has issued a warning for southwestern Calhoun County in south Texas, urging residents to "TAKE COVER NOW!"
"Widespread destructive winds of 115 to 145 mph will spread across Calhoun County, Aransas County, Nueces County, San Patricio County, Refugio County, producing swaths of tornado-like damage," the advisory says. "TAKE COVER NOW! Treat these imminent extreme winds as if a tornado was approaching and move immediately to the safe room in your shelter. Take action now to protect your life!"
5:08 p.m.: Wind speeds reach 125 mph, officials warn of "catastrophic flooding"
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says in an update that Harvey now has wind speeds of 125 mph. It's now about 60 miles southeast of Corpus Christi.
The NHC also says some areas of Texas could get 40 inches of rain and cause "catastrophic flooding." The storm surge is expected to be between 6 to 12 feet along parts of the coast.
5:06 p.m.: Feds won't question families about immigration status at shelters
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a joint statement Friday saying they won't question the immigration status of families arriving to hurricane shelters in Texas and Louisiana.
The agencies said their "highest priorities are to promote life-saving and life-sustaining activities, the safe evacuation of people who are leaving the impacted area, the maintenance of public order, the prevention of the loss of property to the extent possible, and the speedy recovery of the region."
The joint statement said that routine "non-criminal immigration enforcement operations" would not be conducted at evacuation sites or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks.
It also warned that immigration laws would not be suspended, and the agencies would "be vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm."
5:03 p.m.: President Trump arrives at Camp David
The president has arrived at Camp David, where he will be monitoring the storm over the weekend:
because of the current weather conditions. If you live in the area and you want to get out, the free bus rides are over and the city has discontinued the service, CBS News correspondent David Begnaud reports.
The National Weather Service says winds could leave homes uninhabitable for weeks or even months. Storm surge could reach 12 feet -- that's strong enough to wash away vehicles, Begnaud reports.
Fears of a power outage forced the sickest babies at a children's hospital to be moved out of the hurricane's path. Others are heeding the warnings and evacuating on their own.
7:02 p.m.: Hurricane Harvey upgraded to Category 4 storm
The National Hurricane Center has upgraded Hurricane Harvey to a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and is moving northwest at a speed of 8 miles an hour. The storm is about 45 miles outside of Corpus Christi.
4:50 p.m.: National Weather Service director: "The impacts will be extreme"
National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini issued a warning to Louisiana and Texas residents on Friday, calling the impact of Hurricane Harvey "extreme" and "devastating."
"Catastrophic inland flooding due to incredible rainfall amounts and damaging wind will also be associated with this storm," Uccellini said in a statement Friday. "The flooding will be catastrophic and life threatening. The economic impact will likely be devastating."
4:46 p.m.: NASA posts photos of storm from space
NASA posted new photos of Harvey from the International Space Station taken by astronaut Jack Fischer.
4:38 p.m.: Coast Guard rescues 12
The U.S. Coast Guard says it has rescued 12 people from the storm near Corpus Christi.
4:30 p.m.: Corpus Christi mayor: "You can't force people to leave"
Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb told CBSN that he hadn't issued a mandatory evacuation order citywide because "you can't force people to leave and send police out there and drag them out."
He added, "you can highly recommend it, and we've done that, and say they need to get out of low-lying areas."
McComb said he'd received a positive response of residents who were seeking higher grounds. "Many people have gone to San Antonio and points beyond," he said Friday.
4:15 p.m.: Tornado threats in Louisiana and Texas
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for for parts of Louisiana and Texas lasting until 3:00 a.m. on Saturday.
3:18 p.m.: President Trump tweets about Harvey
President Trump addressed the threat of Hurricane Harvey on Friday, urging residents to follow the advice of local and state officials.
3:15 p.m.: Texas governor requests disaster declaration
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott held an afternoon news conference warning residents that Harvey is going to be a "very major disaster." Abbott said Friday that he's asked President Trump for a federal disaster declaration.
Abbott warned residents in coastal areas to evacuate their homes, even if local officials hadn't issued an official warning.
"Even if an evacuation order has not been issued by your local official," Abbott said, "if you are in areas between Corpus Christi and Houston, and maybe even some other areas, especially low lying areas, you need to strongly consider evacuating."
He added, "You don't want to put yourself in a situation where you could be subject to a search and rescue."
3:00 p.m.: Hurricane Harvey reaches Category 3
Harvey became a Category 3 hurricane Friday afternoon, with sustained winds of 120 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.