Harvey now a tropical storm; will become a hurricane Friday

Tropical Storm Harvey cone as of 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A late Wednesday evening update from the National Hurricane Center says Harvey is now officially a tropical storm. It is still on track to become a hurricane on Friday.

An Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft measured tropical storm force winds in Harvey with maximum winds around 40 mph around 11 p.m. Harvey is expected to reach the Texas coast late Friday, according to the First Warning Weather team. Current projections have the storm making landfall possibly in the Corpus Christi area.

The NHC issued numerous watches for the Texas coast and into south central Texas. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Fayette County. These areas are shaded in pink.

There is a Tropical Storm Watch for Fayette County because of Tropical Depression Harvey.
There is a Tropical Storm Watch for Fayette County because of Tropical Depression Harvey.

Coastal areas affected include: a Storm Surge Watch from Port Mansfield to High Island; a Hurricane Watch from north of Port Mansfield to San Luis Pass; and a Tropical Storm Watch from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Port Mansfield and from north of San Luis Pass to High Island.

Each type of watch is typically issued 48 hours ahead of time.

After the storm reaches the coast, it will likely slow down as it potentially moves into Central Texas. It is possible that the weakening storm remains nearly stationary or drifts very slowly for a couple of days over south central or southeast Texas. Similar historical scenarios have resulted in devastating and life-threatening flooding.

As of now, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting as much as 20 inches of rain near the area where the storm stalls. It is possible that could occur as far north as the KXAN viewing area.

Official rainfall projections indicate anywhere from 1 to 10 inches of rain in the KXAN viewing area, with more than 4 inches in the Austin metro area, and up to 10 inches in Fayette County. The lighter amounts are forecast for the Hill Country.

The most significant tropical storm locally in recent memory affected Central Texas in 2010. Tropical Storm Hermine brought 14-16″ of rain in Williamson County and 7″ at Camp Mabry. Three people died at low-water crossings.

In anticipation of Harvey, Gov. Greg Abbott has preemptively declared a State of Disaster for numerous counties along the Texas coast.

Preparing for tropical weather

Tropical systems bring heavy rain and damaging winds to Central Texas. To help residents prepare for storms, the state launched the Texas Emergency portal which offers a variety of resources for planning.

TexasPrepares.org offers a simple, step-by-step guide walking you through planning, building a disaster kit and staying up to date.

For parents, FEMA has a great checklist to help you be ready in the event of an emergency.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has a detailed guide to help make plans in the event of flooding.

Potential power outages

The potential for strong, damaging winds brings the potential for power outages. The links below will take you to individual power providers.

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