Hurricane Harvey is now considered a “life-threatening storm”. Weather researchers warn it poses a “grave risk” to millions as the Gulf Coast braces for a prolonged storm surge that could swamp dozens of counties hundreds of miles inland. Landfall is predicted for late Friday night or early Saturday.
On Thursday, Harvey surprised everyone when it grew unexpectedly from a “tropical depression” into a robust Category 1 hurricane. Fueled by warmer than usual Gulf waters, Harvey is predicted to become a severe Category 3 hurricane.
The last Category 3 storm to hit the U.S. was Hurricane Wilma in October 2005. Category threes will damage homes, topple trees and destroy mobile homes. As with all hurricanes, the incoming wall of water called the “storm surge” is the greatest risk.
“We haven’t had a major hurricane (cat 3 or higher) hit the U.S. since Wilma in 2005,” Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean said.