CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) – The Latest on Hurricane Harvey (all times local):
Families who escaped Rockport before Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coastal city are worried about neighbors and whether their homes are still standing.
Johanna Cochran says she’s panicking over whether her house or the McDonald’s where she works survived the storm, which dealt Rockport a direct blow. She and her boyfriend evacuated to a San Antonio shelter along with dozens of other coastal residents.
Another Rockport resident, Pamela Montes, says she’s also worried about her friends and her home. She says she knows many people who stayed behind because “no one felt like it was going to hit.”
Harvey made landfall Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a Category 1, which is the least powerful classification. Forecasters warn that it could cause catastrophic flooding over the coming days.
Texas officials say they are evacuating about 4,500 inmates from three state prisons in Brazoria County south of Houston because the nearby Brazos River is rising from Hurricane Harvey’s heavy rain.
The Department of Criminal Justice says inmates from the Ramsey, Terrell, and Stringfellow Units in Rosharon are being taken by bus to other prisons in east Texas.
Additional food and water has been delivered to the prisons receiving the displaced inmates.
Harvey came ashore in Texas on Friday night as the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade. It has since weakened to a Category 1 storm.
The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Harvey’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to about 75 mph (120 kph) and that the storm is now centered about 25 miles west of Victoria, Texas.
The center says in its 10 a.m. update that the storm is expected to weaken over the next 48 hours and to become a tropical storm by Saturday afternoon. The storm is moving north at 2 mph (3 kph).
The hurricane center says that although the winds are weakening, the storm could cause catastrophic flooding over the coming days.
Harvey came ashore in Texas on Friday night as the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade.
The Coast Guard has sent two helicopters to try to rescue the crews of three tugboats in distress near the Lydia Ann Channel near Port Aransas, Texas.
The Coast Guard at Corpus Christi says it received a mayday notification Saturday from crew members aboard the Belle Chase, Sandy Point and Sabine Pass.
Two MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews have been sent to rescue the crews.
Texas is being pounded by Hurricane Harvey, which came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane Friday night but has since been downgraded to a Category 1 as it moves inland. Forecasters warn that it could cause catastrophic flooding in the coming days.
Hurricane Harvey has knocked out power to nearly 300,000 customers along the Texas coast and has dumped nearly 20 inches (half a meter) of rain in some places.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages about 90 percent of the state’s electric grid, says there were 211,000 outages in the few hours after Harvey made landfall Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane.
That figure rose to 293,000 on Saturday, when the hurricane was downgraded to Category 1.
In addition to loss of power, emergency personnel in the communities northeast of Corpus Christi where Harvey made landfall are reporting loss of cellphone service and other forms of communication.
The rain was so torrential along Interstate 45 coming out of Galveston as Hurricane Harvey settled over southeast Texas that motorists had to stop under bridges to avoid driving in whiteout conditions.
The downpour on Saturday has also caused minor street flooding along a highway in Dickinson, about 25 miles northwest of Galveston.
Harvey, the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade, made landfall Friday night about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph (209 kph) winds.
It gradually weakened over the next several hours and the National Hurricane Center said that by 5 a.m. Saturday Harvey was downgraded to a Category 1.
A Texas mayor says Hurricane Harvey hit his coastal community “right on the nose” and left “widespread devastation.”
Rockport Mayor Charles “C.J.” Wax told The Weather Channel on Saturday that some homes and businesses were heavily damaged or even completely destroyed. Schools were also damaged.
He says emergency response system for the city of about 10,000 people has been hampered by the loss of cellphone service and other forms of communication.
Harvey made landfall Friday evening as a Category 4 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a Category 1. The National Hurricane Center says the threat in coming days is sustained rains that could unleash “catastrophic” flooding.
The city of Victoria, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) north of Rockport, had received more than 16 inches of rain by Saturday morning.
Daybreak has revealed some of the damage caused when Hurricane Harvey came ashore overnight, including downed lamp posts and tree limbs in Corpus Christi and roof tiles torn off buildings.
Harvey came ashore along Texas’ Gulf Coast on Friday night as the most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade. It has since been downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 1 hurricane, but the storm is expected to hover in the region for days and to dump as much as 40 inches (1 meter) of rain in places.
Corpus Christi’s marina has been left nearly unscathed, save an awning ripped from a restaurant entrance and a wooden garbage bin uprooted and thrown.
An old white sport fishing boat was partially submerged and several boats’ sails came unfurled and were ripped and whipping in wind gusts of more than 50 mph.
President Donald Trump has commended the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for his handling of the hurricane now hitting the Texas Gulf Coast.
In a tweet Saturday morning addressed to FEMA head Brock Long, Trump said: “You are doing a great job – the world is watching! Be safe.”
Hurricane Harvey, the fiercest to hit the U.S. in more than a decade, is posing the first major emergency management test of Trump’s administration.
In a separate tweet, Trump said he is monitoring the hurricane closely from Camp David and “We are leaving nothing to chance. City, State and Federal Govs. working great together!”
He also tweeted that “We have fantastic people on the ground, got there long before #Harvey. So far, so good!”
Harvey has been further downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane as it churns slowly inland from the Texas Gulf Coast, already depositing more than 9 inches of rain in South Texas.
Harvey made landfall about 10 p.m. Friday east-northeast of Corpus Christi as a Category 4, with winds in excess of 130 mph (210 kph).
But wind speeds quickly weakened and by early Saturday Harvey was downgraded. It continues to produce gusts of up to 120 mph (193 kph) and sustained winds of 90 mph (144 kph). The National Hurricane Center warns of “catastrophic flooding” over the next few days.
Emergency personnel in coastal communities like Rockport, just northeast of Corpus Christi, say there’s broad damage to buildings. But Rockport Volunteer Fire Department Chief Steve Sims said early Saturday that firefighters were hunkered down at the city’s fire station waiting for conditions to improve to assess the damage.
Hurricane Harvey has settled over southeast Texas, dumping rain and lashing the state’s Gulf Coast with damaging winds.
The storm made landfall Friday night as a Category 4 with 130 mph (209 kph) winds. It gradually weakened over the next several hours and by early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said it back to a Category 2 – still sustaining winds of 110 mph (185 kph) as of 3 a.m.
Early damage reports from Gulf Coast cities included collapsed roofs and walls. One community transported multiple people from a senior living home to the county jail for treatment after a roof caved in.
But officials remained largely unable to assess the damage before daylight.
The storm is expected to slow further and flood the area with rain through the middle of next week. The center warned that Harvey could produce life-threatening storm surges along a coastal area of more than 400 miles (643 kilometers).