BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) –On a mobile device? Click here for live updates at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Harvey continues churning in the Gulf of Mexico as a dangerous Category 3 hurricane toward Texas, while its outer rain band is now swiping parts of the coast, forecasters said Friday afternoon.
As of 2 p.m., Harvey was located at 27.2 North, 96.4 West, or about 85 miles east, southeast of Corpus Christi, TX, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph with higher gusts. It was currently moving northwest at 10 mph.
A mandatory evacuation for Cameron Parish was issued Thursday at 7 p.m. The order is for all areas south of the Intracoastal Waterway as of 6 a.m. on Friday. It includes the communities of Hackberry, Johnson Bayou, Holly Beach, Cameron, Creole, Grand Chenier, and Big Lake. Residents who live in the parish and are prone to flooding are also advised to make evacuation preparations. For more information, call 337-775-7048.
Devastating impacts are headed to Texas, but the impacts from Hurricane Harvey remain uncertain for Louisiana.
Forecasters said Harvey is expected to produce 15 to 25 inches of rain over the middle and upper Texas coast through Wednesday, with isolated maximum amounts of more than 35 inches possible. They warn rains from Harvey will cause “devastating and life-threatening flooding.”
Wind is always a concern with any approaching tropical system but the greatest threat is often storm surge and the potential for heavy rainfall.
Late this week and through the weekend, the biggest impacts will occur in Southeast Texas and portions of Southwest Louisiana. The official Harvey forecast track from the National Hurricane Center has it slowing significantly or even stalling inland, resulting in a prolonged stretch of heavy rains for areas in and around Corpus Christi up to Houston, TX.
While the heaviest rain would likely be closer to the track of the system, anything headed into Texas puts south Louisiana on the wetter side of the system.
In our part of the world over the next seven days, most weather model guidance indicate rain totals of 3″ to 6″ on average with some localized locations receiving higher amounts. But with a high level of uncertainty in the long range forecast track of Harvey, these totals could easily go higher especially if Harvey loops back out into the Gulf of Mexico and into South Louisiana by the middle of next week, or even if a few heavy rain bands set up in our region. For now the rain potential is what we’ll be watching the closest.
It should also be noted that tornadoes are always a possibility with a landfalling tropical system, so we’ll need to monitor that potential later this week and into the weekend. The outer bands that are somewhat removed from the center can often be more prolific at producing tornadoes.
Stay alert this week and follow the WAFB First Alert Stormteam on air, online, and on social media for continuous updates.
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