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I’ve Lived Through 25 Hurricanes — Here Are My 5 Must-Haves


I grew up in Boca Raton, Florida, a beautiful coastal town located north of Miami. The weather there is tropical and humid — an unfortunate reality of my sweaty adolescence but also what made my peninsula particularly prone to hurricanes. I’ve been through 25 of them, and have learned from my family, friends, and personal experience just what it’s like to make it through a tough storm.

With the series of storms that have ravaged American cities from San Juan to Houston just this season and the potential that global warming could continue to encourage more powerful hurricanes, I recommend you refresh your hurricane preparedness kit. Or, if you’re going through the storm season in the South for the first time, I recommend you get started on building one.

There’s a lot you can gather to prepare for a storm, ranging from hurricane shutters to bathtubs filled with water. But here are five of my family’s absolute must-haves for a storm.

Ice
Anything frozen is of course only useful for a relatively short amount of time, since ice melts. And in Florida, the weather is hot. Ice melts fast. But ice can be immensely useful for a few days at least.

Before a big storm, my mother would always fill the freezer with gallon-sized plastic bags of ice. When the lights flickered and the power shut down, she opened large coolers she had on hand from catering the snacks for many a soccer game and layered the bags of ice with all the meat, cheese, and other food left in our fridge. For at least a day or two after the storm, we could eat yogurt, turkey, and string cheeses to our hearts’ content. We reserved the non-perishables for later, just in case the power stayed out and we’d need them.

Flashlights
Weirdly enough, Palm Beach County had warnings and limitations on the number of candles you were allowed to light after a storm. Apparently there’s danger of a fire starting or something.

But without that source of light, we relied solely on flashlights to keep our home lit at night. Not just one flashlight for each person, either — we put flashlights in every room, propped up in corners and on tables to act as “lamps” in the absence of power. We stocked up on flashlights, batteries, and crank-up lights for desperate measures.

First-Aid Kit
News flash: Hurricanes are dangerous. And kids are clumsy. A first-aid kit is a must, especially in a household with children. You’re not going to have access to a store to buy Band-Aids, gauze, or other essentials if someone gets injured. Keep a fully-stocked first-aid kit at home in a safe place.

A Radio
Huddling around a crank radio with my family felt exhilaratingly like a scene from a zombie movie — the post-apocalyptic reality of living without any electricity or phone service was admittedly pretty fun for me as a child. But for my mom, it was nerve-wracking and stressful. She often had us sit with her to listen for news about when the power would flick back on, whether there was another storm coming, and what curfew hours were currently in place.

Non-Perishable Food
If the power stays off for more than a few days, all your ice is bound to melt. That’s when everyone in the neighborhood would pull out their grills and have a block party — to the detriment of everyone’s food supply. After that, we had to rely on non-perishables and dinners got way less delicious. We lived on canned, boxed, and snack foods.

Pasta, rice, and other grains were staples. Trail mix lasts forever. And for protein, we relied on cans. Canned tuna, beans, and Beefaroni — no joke, those cheap canned items saved my brothers and I from a week or so of protein-deficiency.

I’m really grateful to my mom for thinking about our nutrition so far ahead. While Oreos and chips are delicious, I doubt we could have subsisted for long solely on America’s most unhealthy snack foods.


Hurricane Harvey continues churning toward Texas

Hurricane Harvey was given Category 3 status on Friday afternoon, Aug. 25.

Ahead of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested a major disaster declaration, which will trigger additional help from the federal government. "This is going to be a very major disaster," Abbott said Friday, warning of record-breaking flooding across south Texas.

The outer bands of Hurricane Harvey have begun swiping the Texas coast as 35 inches of rain and "catastrophic" storm-surge flooding is predicted after landfall late Friday or early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The combination of heavy rain, "life-threatening" storm surges, flooding and strong winds could leave wide swaths of South Texas "uninhabitable for weeks or months," the National Weather Service in Houston said. Such daunting language hasn't been seen by CNN's experts since Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.

Harvey, still a Category 2 hurricane, is on track to strengthen to Category 3, with winds of at least 111 mph by the time it makes landfall around Corpus Christi, forecasters said.

A hurricane warning is in effect for about 1.5 million people, with another 16 million under a tropical storm warning, the weather service said.

"Texas is about to have a very significant disaster," said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Residents were urged to evacuate. A mass exodus from the coast caused extensive traffic jams along the state's highways, while other people boarded up windows and stocked up on food and water ahead of the storm, the effects of which are expected to last for days.

After landfall, the storm will stall and dump rain on South Texas and parts of Louisiana into the middle of next week, forecasters predicted.

"All indications from the hurricane center are that this is going to be the first major hurricane the nation has dealt with since 2005," Long said.

Latest developments

-- Harvey strengthened early Friday, becoming a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 110 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

-- "The water is going to be the issue," Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said. "We've never had anything like this."

-- Isolated tornadoes are possible Friday across portions of the middle and upper Texas coast, the service said.

-- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has requested the activation of 700 National Guard members.

-- "We are prepared we are not panicking," Galveston Mayor James Yarbrough said.

-- The Ports of Corpus Christi and Galveston are closed. Three Galveston-based cruise ships in the Gulf of Mexico diverted to safer water.

FEMA prepared for 'significant disaster'

Those who stay should "elevate and get into a structure that can withstand potentially Category 3 winds from a hurricane," said Long, the FEMA director.

"The bottom line message is, right now, if people have not heeded the warning, again, their window to do so is closing," Long said. "If they refuse to heed the warning, that's on them."

Long said he is "very worried" about storm surge, or "wind-driven water," slamming coastal areas, saying it has the "highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most amount of damage."

"Over the next five days, we're going to see copious amounts of rainfall, up to 25 inches, possibly, in some areas, with isolated higher amounts," he said. "This is going to be a slow-developing major disaster event for the state of Texas."

FEMA has pre-positioned incident management teams, as well as life-saving and life-sustaining commodities, and search-and-rescue teams in Texas, Long said.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he has spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana, saying he is "closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey developments and here to assist as needed."

"I think we'll be looking at the potential request for presidential disaster declarations coming up from Gov. Abbott," Long said. "The President has the ability, has the authority to sign off on those to mobilize our support to the state governments."

Officials also worried that Harvey's abundant rain will drench Texas and the region for several days.

"We could see this storm park for almost five days in some places, and we hear 3 feet of rain," said Bill Read, the former director of the National Hurricane Center. "That's just going to be a huge problem for these areas."

Harvey is also causing concern in New Orleans, where heavy rain could usher in as much as 20 inches of rain through early next week and overwhelm the city's already-compromised drainage system.

In a statement Friday to CNN, US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that "routine noncriminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks."

'I'm trying to be strong'

The threat of Harvey became evident Thursday when several coastal Texas counties issued evacuation orders, leading to hordes of residents sitting bumper to bumper miles.

Rose Yepez told CNN it took her twice as long as usual to drive 140 miles from Corpus Christi to San Antonio, en route to Texas Hill Country.

Private vehicles -- along with city buses packed with adults and children carrying backpacks -- jammed roads for hours.

"I'm shaking inside, but for them, I'm trying to be strong," a Corpus Christi woman who was waiting with her two daughters to board a bus out of town told CNN affiliate KRIS.

Workers at 39 offshore petroleum production platforms and an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico also evacuated Thursday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said anyone not leaving should plan to stay off the roads once the storm starts.

"People need to know, this is not a one-, two-day event and done," Turner said. "Even though it may seem like it will get better, this is a four- or five-day event, starting tomorrow evening, going through Monday or Tuesday."

Staying put, boarding up

First responders like Brittany Fowler stayed behind and waited for the storm.

"Hopefully it doesn't do any damage, but if it does, we've prepared," Fowler, a firefighter in Corpus Christi, wrote on Instagram.

Fowler's family helped by boarding up windows and doors at her home, and she bought plenty of water, food and a small power generator.

Corey Davis, by contrast, was free to go -- but opted to stay put, even as Harvey's winds started blowing Thursday night. Instead of packing, she and her relatives took turns climbing a tall ladder to secure plywood over windows at their Port O'Connor home.

"I'm scared, so I'm doing everything that I can to protect (this) little place down here," Davis told CNN affiliate KTRK, "and hope and pray for the best."

Despite the warnings, Elsie and David Reichenbacher prepped supplies and plan to stay put in Corpus Christi.

"I've gone through a lot of hurricanes. I've lived here most of my life," Elsie Reichenbacher said. "I'd rather take care of my home and my animals and be safe here. I'm on high ground with my house."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Hurricane Harvey continues churning toward Texas

Hurricane Harvey was given Category 3 status on Friday afternoon, Aug. 25.

Ahead of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested a major disaster declaration, which will trigger additional help from the federal government. "This is going to be a very major disaster," Abbott said Friday, warning of record-breaking flooding across south Texas.

The outer bands of Hurricane Harvey have begun swiping the Texas coast as 35 inches of rain and "catastrophic" storm-surge flooding is predicted after landfall late Friday or early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The combination of heavy rain, "life-threatening" storm surges, flooding and strong winds could leave wide swaths of South Texas "uninhabitable for weeks or months," the National Weather Service in Houston said. Such daunting language hasn't been seen by CNN's experts since Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.

Harvey, still a Category 2 hurricane, is on track to strengthen to Category 3, with winds of at least 111 mph by the time it makes landfall around Corpus Christi, forecasters said.

A hurricane warning is in effect for about 1.5 million people, with another 16 million under a tropical storm warning, the weather service said.

"Texas is about to have a very significant disaster," said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Residents were urged to evacuate. A mass exodus from the coast caused extensive traffic jams along the state's highways, while other people boarded up windows and stocked up on food and water ahead of the storm, the effects of which are expected to last for days.

After landfall, the storm will stall and dump rain on South Texas and parts of Louisiana into the middle of next week, forecasters predicted.

"All indications from the hurricane center are that this is going to be the first major hurricane the nation has dealt with since 2005," Long said.

Latest developments

-- Harvey strengthened early Friday, becoming a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 110 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

-- "The water is going to be the issue," Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said. "We've never had anything like this."

-- Isolated tornadoes are possible Friday across portions of the middle and upper Texas coast, the service said.

-- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has requested the activation of 700 National Guard members.

-- "We are prepared we are not panicking," Galveston Mayor James Yarbrough said.

-- The Ports of Corpus Christi and Galveston are closed. Three Galveston-based cruise ships in the Gulf of Mexico diverted to safer water.

FEMA prepared for 'significant disaster'

Those who stay should "elevate and get into a structure that can withstand potentially Category 3 winds from a hurricane," said Long, the FEMA director.

"The bottom line message is, right now, if people have not heeded the warning, again, their window to do so is closing," Long said. "If they refuse to heed the warning, that's on them."

Long said he is "very worried" about storm surge, or "wind-driven water," slamming coastal areas, saying it has the "highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most amount of damage."

"Over the next five days, we're going to see copious amounts of rainfall, up to 25 inches, possibly, in some areas, with isolated higher amounts," he said. "This is going to be a slow-developing major disaster event for the state of Texas."

FEMA has pre-positioned incident management teams, as well as life-saving and life-sustaining commodities, and search-and-rescue teams in Texas, Long said.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he has spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana, saying he is "closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey developments and here to assist as needed."

"I think we'll be looking at the potential request for presidential disaster declarations coming up from Gov. Abbott," Long said. "The President has the ability, has the authority to sign off on those to mobilize our support to the state governments."

Officials also worried that Harvey's abundant rain will drench Texas and the region for several days.

"We could see this storm park for almost five days in some places, and we hear 3 feet of rain," said Bill Read, the former director of the National Hurricane Center. "That's just going to be a huge problem for these areas."

Harvey is also causing concern in New Orleans, where heavy rain could usher in as much as 20 inches of rain through early next week and overwhelm the city's already-compromised drainage system.

In a statement Friday to CNN, US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that "routine noncriminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks."

'I'm trying to be strong'

The threat of Harvey became evident Thursday when several coastal Texas counties issued evacuation orders, leading to hordes of residents sitting bumper to bumper miles.

Rose Yepez told CNN it took her twice as long as usual to drive 140 miles from Corpus Christi to San Antonio, en route to Texas Hill Country.

Private vehicles -- along with city buses packed with adults and children carrying backpacks -- jammed roads for hours.

"I'm shaking inside, but for them, I'm trying to be strong," a Corpus Christi woman who was waiting with her two daughters to board a bus out of town told CNN affiliate KRIS.

Workers at 39 offshore petroleum production platforms and an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico also evacuated Thursday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said anyone not leaving should plan to stay off the roads once the storm starts.

"People need to know, this is not a one-, two-day event and done," Turner said. "Even though it may seem like it will get better, this is a four- or five-day event, starting tomorrow evening, going through Monday or Tuesday."

Staying put, boarding up

First responders like Brittany Fowler stayed behind and waited for the storm.

"Hopefully it doesn't do any damage, but if it does, we've prepared," Fowler, a firefighter in Corpus Christi, wrote on Instagram.

Fowler's family helped by boarding up windows and doors at her home, and she bought plenty of water, food and a small power generator.

Corey Davis, by contrast, was free to go -- but opted to stay put, even as Harvey's winds started blowing Thursday night. Instead of packing, she and her relatives took turns climbing a tall ladder to secure plywood over windows at their Port O'Connor home.

"I'm scared, so I'm doing everything that I can to protect (this) little place down here," Davis told CNN affiliate KTRK, "and hope and pray for the best."

Despite the warnings, Elsie and David Reichenbacher prepped supplies and plan to stay put in Corpus Christi.

"I've gone through a lot of hurricanes. I've lived here most of my life," Elsie Reichenbacher said. "I'd rather take care of my home and my animals and be safe here. I'm on high ground with my house."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Hurricane Harvey continues churning toward Texas

Hurricane Harvey was given Category 3 status on Friday afternoon, Aug. 25.

Ahead of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested a major disaster declaration, which will trigger additional help from the federal government. "This is going to be a very major disaster," Abbott said Friday, warning of record-breaking flooding across south Texas.

The outer bands of Hurricane Harvey have begun swiping the Texas coast as 35 inches of rain and "catastrophic" storm-surge flooding is predicted after landfall late Friday or early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The combination of heavy rain, "life-threatening" storm surges, flooding and strong winds could leave wide swaths of South Texas "uninhabitable for weeks or months," the National Weather Service in Houston said. Such daunting language hasn't been seen by CNN's experts since Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.

Harvey, still a Category 2 hurricane, is on track to strengthen to Category 3, with winds of at least 111 mph by the time it makes landfall around Corpus Christi, forecasters said.

A hurricane warning is in effect for about 1.5 million people, with another 16 million under a tropical storm warning, the weather service said.

"Texas is about to have a very significant disaster," said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Residents were urged to evacuate. A mass exodus from the coast caused extensive traffic jams along the state's highways, while other people boarded up windows and stocked up on food and water ahead of the storm, the effects of which are expected to last for days.

After landfall, the storm will stall and dump rain on South Texas and parts of Louisiana into the middle of next week, forecasters predicted.

"All indications from the hurricane center are that this is going to be the first major hurricane the nation has dealt with since 2005," Long said.

Latest developments

-- Harvey strengthened early Friday, becoming a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 110 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

-- "The water is going to be the issue," Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said. "We've never had anything like this."

-- Isolated tornadoes are possible Friday across portions of the middle and upper Texas coast, the service said.

-- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has requested the activation of 700 National Guard members.

-- "We are prepared we are not panicking," Galveston Mayor James Yarbrough said.

-- The Ports of Corpus Christi and Galveston are closed. Three Galveston-based cruise ships in the Gulf of Mexico diverted to safer water.

FEMA prepared for 'significant disaster'

Those who stay should "elevate and get into a structure that can withstand potentially Category 3 winds from a hurricane," said Long, the FEMA director.

"The bottom line message is, right now, if people have not heeded the warning, again, their window to do so is closing," Long said. "If they refuse to heed the warning, that's on them."

Long said he is "very worried" about storm surge, or "wind-driven water," slamming coastal areas, saying it has the "highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most amount of damage."

"Over the next five days, we're going to see copious amounts of rainfall, up to 25 inches, possibly, in some areas, with isolated higher amounts," he said. "This is going to be a slow-developing major disaster event for the state of Texas."

FEMA has pre-positioned incident management teams, as well as life-saving and life-sustaining commodities, and search-and-rescue teams in Texas, Long said.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he has spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana, saying he is "closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey developments and here to assist as needed."

"I think we'll be looking at the potential request for presidential disaster declarations coming up from Gov. Abbott," Long said. "The President has the ability, has the authority to sign off on those to mobilize our support to the state governments."

Officials also worried that Harvey's abundant rain will drench Texas and the region for several days.

"We could see this storm park for almost five days in some places, and we hear 3 feet of rain," said Bill Read, the former director of the National Hurricane Center. "That's just going to be a huge problem for these areas."

Harvey is also causing concern in New Orleans, where heavy rain could usher in as much as 20 inches of rain through early next week and overwhelm the city's already-compromised drainage system.

In a statement Friday to CNN, US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that "routine noncriminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks."

'I'm trying to be strong'

The threat of Harvey became evident Thursday when several coastal Texas counties issued evacuation orders, leading to hordes of residents sitting bumper to bumper miles.

Rose Yepez told CNN it took her twice as long as usual to drive 140 miles from Corpus Christi to San Antonio, en route to Texas Hill Country.

Private vehicles -- along with city buses packed with adults and children carrying backpacks -- jammed roads for hours.

"I'm shaking inside, but for them, I'm trying to be strong," a Corpus Christi woman who was waiting with her two daughters to board a bus out of town told CNN affiliate KRIS.

Workers at 39 offshore petroleum production platforms and an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico also evacuated Thursday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said anyone not leaving should plan to stay off the roads once the storm starts.

"People need to know, this is not a one-, two-day event and done," Turner said. "Even though it may seem like it will get better, this is a four- or five-day event, starting tomorrow evening, going through Monday or Tuesday."

Staying put, boarding up

First responders like Brittany Fowler stayed behind and waited for the storm.

"Hopefully it doesn't do any damage, but if it does, we've prepared," Fowler, a firefighter in Corpus Christi, wrote on Instagram.

Fowler's family helped by boarding up windows and doors at her home, and she bought plenty of water, food and a small power generator.

Corey Davis, by contrast, was free to go -- but opted to stay put, even as Harvey's winds started blowing Thursday night. Instead of packing, she and her relatives took turns climbing a tall ladder to secure plywood over windows at their Port O'Connor home.

"I'm scared, so I'm doing everything that I can to protect (this) little place down here," Davis told CNN affiliate KTRK, "and hope and pray for the best."

Despite the warnings, Elsie and David Reichenbacher prepped supplies and plan to stay put in Corpus Christi.

"I've gone through a lot of hurricanes. I've lived here most of my life," Elsie Reichenbacher said. "I'd rather take care of my home and my animals and be safe here. I'm on high ground with my house."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Hurricane Harvey continues churning toward Texas

Hurricane Harvey was given Category 3 status on Friday afternoon, Aug. 25.

Ahead of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested a major disaster declaration, which will trigger additional help from the federal government. "This is going to be a very major disaster," Abbott said Friday, warning of record-breaking flooding across south Texas.

The outer bands of Hurricane Harvey have begun swiping the Texas coast as 35 inches of rain and "catastrophic" storm-surge flooding is predicted after landfall late Friday or early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The combination of heavy rain, "life-threatening" storm surges, flooding and strong winds could leave wide swaths of South Texas "uninhabitable for weeks or months," the National Weather Service in Houston said. Such daunting language hasn't been seen by CNN's experts since Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.

Harvey, still a Category 2 hurricane, is on track to strengthen to Category 3, with winds of at least 111 mph by the time it makes landfall around Corpus Christi, forecasters said.

A hurricane warning is in effect for about 1.5 million people, with another 16 million under a tropical storm warning, the weather service said.

"Texas is about to have a very significant disaster," said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Residents were urged to evacuate. A mass exodus from the coast caused extensive traffic jams along the state's highways, while other people boarded up windows and stocked up on food and water ahead of the storm, the effects of which are expected to last for days.

After landfall, the storm will stall and dump rain on South Texas and parts of Louisiana into the middle of next week, forecasters predicted.

"All indications from the hurricane center are that this is going to be the first major hurricane the nation has dealt with since 2005," Long said.

Latest developments

-- Harvey strengthened early Friday, becoming a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 110 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

-- "The water is going to be the issue," Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said. "We've never had anything like this."

-- Isolated tornadoes are possible Friday across portions of the middle and upper Texas coast, the service said.

-- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has requested the activation of 700 National Guard members.

-- "We are prepared we are not panicking," Galveston Mayor James Yarbrough said.

-- The Ports of Corpus Christi and Galveston are closed. Three Galveston-based cruise ships in the Gulf of Mexico diverted to safer water.

FEMA prepared for 'significant disaster'

Those who stay should "elevate and get into a structure that can withstand potentially Category 3 winds from a hurricane," said Long, the FEMA director.

"The bottom line message is, right now, if people have not heeded the warning, again, their window to do so is closing," Long said. "If they refuse to heed the warning, that's on them."

Long said he is "very worried" about storm surge, or "wind-driven water," slamming coastal areas, saying it has the "highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most amount of damage."

"Over the next five days, we're going to see copious amounts of rainfall, up to 25 inches, possibly, in some areas, with isolated higher amounts," he said. "This is going to be a slow-developing major disaster event for the state of Texas."

FEMA has pre-positioned incident management teams, as well as life-saving and life-sustaining commodities, and search-and-rescue teams in Texas, Long said.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he has spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana, saying he is "closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey developments and here to assist as needed."

"I think we'll be looking at the potential request for presidential disaster declarations coming up from Gov. Abbott," Long said. "The President has the ability, has the authority to sign off on those to mobilize our support to the state governments."

Officials also worried that Harvey's abundant rain will drench Texas and the region for several days.

"We could see this storm park for almost five days in some places, and we hear 3 feet of rain," said Bill Read, the former director of the National Hurricane Center. "That's just going to be a huge problem for these areas."

Harvey is also causing concern in New Orleans, where heavy rain could usher in as much as 20 inches of rain through early next week and overwhelm the city's already-compromised drainage system.

In a statement Friday to CNN, US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that "routine noncriminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks."

'I'm trying to be strong'

The threat of Harvey became evident Thursday when several coastal Texas counties issued evacuation orders, leading to hordes of residents sitting bumper to bumper miles.

Rose Yepez told CNN it took her twice as long as usual to drive 140 miles from Corpus Christi to San Antonio, en route to Texas Hill Country.

Private vehicles -- along with city buses packed with adults and children carrying backpacks -- jammed roads for hours.

"I'm shaking inside, but for them, I'm trying to be strong," a Corpus Christi woman who was waiting with her two daughters to board a bus out of town told CNN affiliate KRIS.

Workers at 39 offshore petroleum production platforms and an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico also evacuated Thursday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said anyone not leaving should plan to stay off the roads once the storm starts.

"People need to know, this is not a one-, two-day event and done," Turner said. "Even though it may seem like it will get better, this is a four- or five-day event, starting tomorrow evening, going through Monday or Tuesday."

Staying put, boarding up

First responders like Brittany Fowler stayed behind and waited for the storm.

"Hopefully it doesn't do any damage, but if it does, we've prepared," Fowler, a firefighter in Corpus Christi, wrote on Instagram.

Fowler's family helped by boarding up windows and doors at her home, and she bought plenty of water, food and a small power generator.

Corey Davis, by contrast, was free to go -- but opted to stay put, even as Harvey's winds started blowing Thursday night. Instead of packing, she and her relatives took turns climbing a tall ladder to secure plywood over windows at their Port O'Connor home.

"I'm scared, so I'm doing everything that I can to protect (this) little place down here," Davis told CNN affiliate KTRK, "and hope and pray for the best."

Despite the warnings, Elsie and David Reichenbacher prepped supplies and plan to stay put in Corpus Christi.

"I've gone through a lot of hurricanes. I've lived here most of my life," Elsie Reichenbacher said. "I'd rather take care of my home and my animals and be safe here. I'm on high ground with my house."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Hurricane Harvey continues churning toward Texas

Hurricane Harvey was given Category 3 status on Friday afternoon, Aug. 25.

Ahead of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested a major disaster declaration, which will trigger additional help from the federal government. "This is going to be a very major disaster," Abbott said Friday, warning of record-breaking flooding across south Texas.

The outer bands of Hurricane Harvey have begun swiping the Texas coast as 35 inches of rain and "catastrophic" storm-surge flooding is predicted after landfall late Friday or early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The combination of heavy rain, "life-threatening" storm surges, flooding and strong winds could leave wide swaths of South Texas "uninhabitable for weeks or months," the National Weather Service in Houston said. Such daunting language hasn't been seen by CNN's experts since Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.

Harvey, still a Category 2 hurricane, is on track to strengthen to Category 3, with winds of at least 111 mph by the time it makes landfall around Corpus Christi, forecasters said.

A hurricane warning is in effect for about 1.5 million people, with another 16 million under a tropical storm warning, the weather service said.

"Texas is about to have a very significant disaster," said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Residents were urged to evacuate. A mass exodus from the coast caused extensive traffic jams along the state's highways, while other people boarded up windows and stocked up on food and water ahead of the storm, the effects of which are expected to last for days.

After landfall, the storm will stall and dump rain on South Texas and parts of Louisiana into the middle of next week, forecasters predicted.

"All indications from the hurricane center are that this is going to be the first major hurricane the nation has dealt with since 2005," Long said.

Latest developments

-- Harvey strengthened early Friday, becoming a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 110 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

-- "The water is going to be the issue," Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said. "We've never had anything like this."

-- Isolated tornadoes are possible Friday across portions of the middle and upper Texas coast, the service said.

-- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has requested the activation of 700 National Guard members.

-- "We are prepared we are not panicking," Galveston Mayor James Yarbrough said.

-- The Ports of Corpus Christi and Galveston are closed. Three Galveston-based cruise ships in the Gulf of Mexico diverted to safer water.

FEMA prepared for 'significant disaster'

Those who stay should "elevate and get into a structure that can withstand potentially Category 3 winds from a hurricane," said Long, the FEMA director.

"The bottom line message is, right now, if people have not heeded the warning, again, their window to do so is closing," Long said. "If they refuse to heed the warning, that's on them."

Long said he is "very worried" about storm surge, or "wind-driven water," slamming coastal areas, saying it has the "highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most amount of damage."

"Over the next five days, we're going to see copious amounts of rainfall, up to 25 inches, possibly, in some areas, with isolated higher amounts," he said. "This is going to be a slow-developing major disaster event for the state of Texas."

FEMA has pre-positioned incident management teams, as well as life-saving and life-sustaining commodities, and search-and-rescue teams in Texas, Long said.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he has spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana, saying he is "closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey developments and here to assist as needed."

"I think we'll be looking at the potential request for presidential disaster declarations coming up from Gov. Abbott," Long said. "The President has the ability, has the authority to sign off on those to mobilize our support to the state governments."

Officials also worried that Harvey's abundant rain will drench Texas and the region for several days.

"We could see this storm park for almost five days in some places, and we hear 3 feet of rain," said Bill Read, the former director of the National Hurricane Center. "That's just going to be a huge problem for these areas."

Harvey is also causing concern in New Orleans, where heavy rain could usher in as much as 20 inches of rain through early next week and overwhelm the city's already-compromised drainage system.

In a statement Friday to CNN, US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that "routine noncriminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks."

'I'm trying to be strong'

The threat of Harvey became evident Thursday when several coastal Texas counties issued evacuation orders, leading to hordes of residents sitting bumper to bumper miles.

Rose Yepez told CNN it took her twice as long as usual to drive 140 miles from Corpus Christi to San Antonio, en route to Texas Hill Country.

Private vehicles -- along with city buses packed with adults and children carrying backpacks -- jammed roads for hours.

"I'm shaking inside, but for them, I'm trying to be strong," a Corpus Christi woman who was waiting with her two daughters to board a bus out of town told CNN affiliate KRIS.

Workers at 39 offshore petroleum production platforms and an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico also evacuated Thursday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said anyone not leaving should plan to stay off the roads once the storm starts.

"People need to know, this is not a one-, two-day event and done," Turner said. "Even though it may seem like it will get better, this is a four- or five-day event, starting tomorrow evening, going through Monday or Tuesday."

Staying put, boarding up

First responders like Brittany Fowler stayed behind and waited for the storm.

"Hopefully it doesn't do any damage, but if it does, we've prepared," Fowler, a firefighter in Corpus Christi, wrote on Instagram.

Fowler's family helped by boarding up windows and doors at her home, and she bought plenty of water, food and a small power generator.

Corey Davis, by contrast, was free to go -- but opted to stay put, even as Harvey's winds started blowing Thursday night. Instead of packing, she and her relatives took turns climbing a tall ladder to secure plywood over windows at their Port O'Connor home.

"I'm scared, so I'm doing everything that I can to protect (this) little place down here," Davis told CNN affiliate KTRK, "and hope and pray for the best."

Despite the warnings, Elsie and David Reichenbacher prepped supplies and plan to stay put in Corpus Christi.

"I've gone through a lot of hurricanes. I've lived here most of my life," Elsie Reichenbacher said. "I'd rather take care of my home and my animals and be safe here. I'm on high ground with my house."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Hurricane Harvey continues churning toward Texas

Hurricane Harvey was given Category 3 status on Friday afternoon, Aug. 25.

Ahead of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested a major disaster declaration, which will trigger additional help from the federal government. "This is going to be a very major disaster," Abbott said Friday, warning of record-breaking flooding across south Texas.

The outer bands of Hurricane Harvey have begun swiping the Texas coast as 35 inches of rain and "catastrophic" storm-surge flooding is predicted after landfall late Friday or early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The combination of heavy rain, "life-threatening" storm surges, flooding and strong winds could leave wide swaths of South Texas "uninhabitable for weeks or months," the National Weather Service in Houston said. Such daunting language hasn't been seen by CNN's experts since Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.

Harvey, still a Category 2 hurricane, is on track to strengthen to Category 3, with winds of at least 111 mph by the time it makes landfall around Corpus Christi, forecasters said.

A hurricane warning is in effect for about 1.5 million people, with another 16 million under a tropical storm warning, the weather service said.

"Texas is about to have a very significant disaster," said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Residents were urged to evacuate. A mass exodus from the coast caused extensive traffic jams along the state's highways, while other people boarded up windows and stocked up on food and water ahead of the storm, the effects of which are expected to last for days.

After landfall, the storm will stall and dump rain on South Texas and parts of Louisiana into the middle of next week, forecasters predicted.

"All indications from the hurricane center are that this is going to be the first major hurricane the nation has dealt with since 2005," Long said.

Latest developments

-- Harvey strengthened early Friday, becoming a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 110 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

-- "The water is going to be the issue," Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said. "We've never had anything like this."

-- Isolated tornadoes are possible Friday across portions of the middle and upper Texas coast, the service said.

-- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has requested the activation of 700 National Guard members.

-- "We are prepared we are not panicking," Galveston Mayor James Yarbrough said.

-- The Ports of Corpus Christi and Galveston are closed. Three Galveston-based cruise ships in the Gulf of Mexico diverted to safer water.

FEMA prepared for 'significant disaster'

Those who stay should "elevate and get into a structure that can withstand potentially Category 3 winds from a hurricane," said Long, the FEMA director.

"The bottom line message is, right now, if people have not heeded the warning, again, their window to do so is closing," Long said. "If they refuse to heed the warning, that's on them."

Long said he is "very worried" about storm surge, or "wind-driven water," slamming coastal areas, saying it has the "highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most amount of damage."

"Over the next five days, we're going to see copious amounts of rainfall, up to 25 inches, possibly, in some areas, with isolated higher amounts," he said. "This is going to be a slow-developing major disaster event for the state of Texas."

FEMA has pre-positioned incident management teams, as well as life-saving and life-sustaining commodities, and search-and-rescue teams in Texas, Long said.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he has spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana, saying he is "closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey developments and here to assist as needed."

"I think we'll be looking at the potential request for presidential disaster declarations coming up from Gov. Abbott," Long said. "The President has the ability, has the authority to sign off on those to mobilize our support to the state governments."

Officials also worried that Harvey's abundant rain will drench Texas and the region for several days.

"We could see this storm park for almost five days in some places, and we hear 3 feet of rain," said Bill Read, the former director of the National Hurricane Center. "That's just going to be a huge problem for these areas."

Harvey is also causing concern in New Orleans, where heavy rain could usher in as much as 20 inches of rain through early next week and overwhelm the city's already-compromised drainage system.

In a statement Friday to CNN, US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that "routine noncriminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks."

'I'm trying to be strong'

The threat of Harvey became evident Thursday when several coastal Texas counties issued evacuation orders, leading to hordes of residents sitting bumper to bumper miles.

Rose Yepez told CNN it took her twice as long as usual to drive 140 miles from Corpus Christi to San Antonio, en route to Texas Hill Country.

Private vehicles -- along with city buses packed with adults and children carrying backpacks -- jammed roads for hours.

"I'm shaking inside, but for them, I'm trying to be strong," a Corpus Christi woman who was waiting with her two daughters to board a bus out of town told CNN affiliate KRIS.

Workers at 39 offshore petroleum production platforms and an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico also evacuated Thursday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said anyone not leaving should plan to stay off the roads once the storm starts.

"People need to know, this is not a one-, two-day event and done," Turner said. "Even though it may seem like it will get better, this is a four- or five-day event, starting tomorrow evening, going through Monday or Tuesday."

Staying put, boarding up

First responders like Brittany Fowler stayed behind and waited for the storm.

"Hopefully it doesn't do any damage, but if it does, we've prepared," Fowler, a firefighter in Corpus Christi, wrote on Instagram.

Fowler's family helped by boarding up windows and doors at her home, and she bought plenty of water, food and a small power generator.

Corey Davis, by contrast, was free to go -- but opted to stay put, even as Harvey's winds started blowing Thursday night. Instead of packing, she and her relatives took turns climbing a tall ladder to secure plywood over windows at their Port O'Connor home.

"I'm scared, so I'm doing everything that I can to protect (this) little place down here," Davis told CNN affiliate KTRK, "and hope and pray for the best."

Despite the warnings, Elsie and David Reichenbacher prepped supplies and plan to stay put in Corpus Christi.

"I've gone through a lot of hurricanes. I've lived here most of my life," Elsie Reichenbacher said. "I'd rather take care of my home and my animals and be safe here. I'm on high ground with my house."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Hurricane Harvey continues churning toward Texas

Hurricane Harvey was given Category 3 status on Friday afternoon, Aug. 25.

Ahead of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested a major disaster declaration, which will trigger additional help from the federal government. "This is going to be a very major disaster," Abbott said Friday, warning of record-breaking flooding across south Texas.

The outer bands of Hurricane Harvey have begun swiping the Texas coast as 35 inches of rain and "catastrophic" storm-surge flooding is predicted after landfall late Friday or early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The combination of heavy rain, "life-threatening" storm surges, flooding and strong winds could leave wide swaths of South Texas "uninhabitable for weeks or months," the National Weather Service in Houston said. Such daunting language hasn't been seen by CNN's experts since Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.

Harvey, still a Category 2 hurricane, is on track to strengthen to Category 3, with winds of at least 111 mph by the time it makes landfall around Corpus Christi, forecasters said.

A hurricane warning is in effect for about 1.5 million people, with another 16 million under a tropical storm warning, the weather service said.

"Texas is about to have a very significant disaster," said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Residents were urged to evacuate. A mass exodus from the coast caused extensive traffic jams along the state's highways, while other people boarded up windows and stocked up on food and water ahead of the storm, the effects of which are expected to last for days.

After landfall, the storm will stall and dump rain on South Texas and parts of Louisiana into the middle of next week, forecasters predicted.

"All indications from the hurricane center are that this is going to be the first major hurricane the nation has dealt with since 2005," Long said.

Latest developments

-- Harvey strengthened early Friday, becoming a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 110 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

-- "The water is going to be the issue," Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said. "We've never had anything like this."

-- Isolated tornadoes are possible Friday across portions of the middle and upper Texas coast, the service said.

-- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has requested the activation of 700 National Guard members.

-- "We are prepared we are not panicking," Galveston Mayor James Yarbrough said.

-- The Ports of Corpus Christi and Galveston are closed. Three Galveston-based cruise ships in the Gulf of Mexico diverted to safer water.

FEMA prepared for 'significant disaster'

Those who stay should "elevate and get into a structure that can withstand potentially Category 3 winds from a hurricane," said Long, the FEMA director.

"The bottom line message is, right now, if people have not heeded the warning, again, their window to do so is closing," Long said. "If they refuse to heed the warning, that's on them."

Long said he is "very worried" about storm surge, or "wind-driven water," slamming coastal areas, saying it has the "highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most amount of damage."

"Over the next five days, we're going to see copious amounts of rainfall, up to 25 inches, possibly, in some areas, with isolated higher amounts," he said. "This is going to be a slow-developing major disaster event for the state of Texas."

FEMA has pre-positioned incident management teams, as well as life-saving and life-sustaining commodities, and search-and-rescue teams in Texas, Long said.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he has spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana, saying he is "closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey developments and here to assist as needed."

"I think we'll be looking at the potential request for presidential disaster declarations coming up from Gov. Abbott," Long said. "The President has the ability, has the authority to sign off on those to mobilize our support to the state governments."

Officials also worried that Harvey's abundant rain will drench Texas and the region for several days.

"We could see this storm park for almost five days in some places, and we hear 3 feet of rain," said Bill Read, the former director of the National Hurricane Center. "That's just going to be a huge problem for these areas."

Harvey is also causing concern in New Orleans, where heavy rain could usher in as much as 20 inches of rain through early next week and overwhelm the city's already-compromised drainage system.

In a statement Friday to CNN, US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that "routine noncriminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks."

'I'm trying to be strong'

The threat of Harvey became evident Thursday when several coastal Texas counties issued evacuation orders, leading to hordes of residents sitting bumper to bumper miles.

Rose Yepez told CNN it took her twice as long as usual to drive 140 miles from Corpus Christi to San Antonio, en route to Texas Hill Country.

Private vehicles -- along with city buses packed with adults and children carrying backpacks -- jammed roads for hours.

"I'm shaking inside, but for them, I'm trying to be strong," a Corpus Christi woman who was waiting with her two daughters to board a bus out of town told CNN affiliate KRIS.

Workers at 39 offshore petroleum production platforms and an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico also evacuated Thursday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said anyone not leaving should plan to stay off the roads once the storm starts.

"People need to know, this is not a one-, two-day event and done," Turner said. "Even though it may seem like it will get better, this is a four- or five-day event, starting tomorrow evening, going through Monday or Tuesday."

Staying put, boarding up

First responders like Brittany Fowler stayed behind and waited for the storm.

"Hopefully it doesn't do any damage, but if it does, we've prepared," Fowler, a firefighter in Corpus Christi, wrote on Instagram.

Fowler's family helped by boarding up windows and doors at her home, and she bought plenty of water, food and a small power generator.

Corey Davis, by contrast, was free to go -- but opted to stay put, even as Harvey's winds started blowing Thursday night. Instead of packing, she and her relatives took turns climbing a tall ladder to secure plywood over windows at their Port O'Connor home.

"I'm scared, so I'm doing everything that I can to protect (this) little place down here," Davis told CNN affiliate KTRK, "and hope and pray for the best."

Despite the warnings, Elsie and David Reichenbacher prepped supplies and plan to stay put in Corpus Christi.

"I've gone through a lot of hurricanes. I've lived here most of my life," Elsie Reichenbacher said. "I'd rather take care of my home and my animals and be safe here. I'm on high ground with my house."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Hurricane Harvey continues churning toward Texas

Hurricane Harvey was given Category 3 status on Friday afternoon, Aug. 25.

Ahead of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested a major disaster declaration, which will trigger additional help from the federal government. "This is going to be a very major disaster," Abbott said Friday, warning of record-breaking flooding across south Texas.

The outer bands of Hurricane Harvey have begun swiping the Texas coast as 35 inches of rain and "catastrophic" storm-surge flooding is predicted after landfall late Friday or early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The combination of heavy rain, "life-threatening" storm surges, flooding and strong winds could leave wide swaths of South Texas "uninhabitable for weeks or months," the National Weather Service in Houston said. Such daunting language hasn't been seen by CNN's experts since Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.

Harvey, still a Category 2 hurricane, is on track to strengthen to Category 3, with winds of at least 111 mph by the time it makes landfall around Corpus Christi, forecasters said.

A hurricane warning is in effect for about 1.5 million people, with another 16 million under a tropical storm warning, the weather service said.

"Texas is about to have a very significant disaster," said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Residents were urged to evacuate. A mass exodus from the coast caused extensive traffic jams along the state's highways, while other people boarded up windows and stocked up on food and water ahead of the storm, the effects of which are expected to last for days.

After landfall, the storm will stall and dump rain on South Texas and parts of Louisiana into the middle of next week, forecasters predicted.

"All indications from the hurricane center are that this is going to be the first major hurricane the nation has dealt with since 2005," Long said.

Latest developments

-- Harvey strengthened early Friday, becoming a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 110 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

-- "The water is going to be the issue," Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said. "We've never had anything like this."

-- Isolated tornadoes are possible Friday across portions of the middle and upper Texas coast, the service said.

-- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has requested the activation of 700 National Guard members.

-- "We are prepared we are not panicking," Galveston Mayor James Yarbrough said.

-- The Ports of Corpus Christi and Galveston are closed. Three Galveston-based cruise ships in the Gulf of Mexico diverted to safer water.

FEMA prepared for 'significant disaster'

Those who stay should "elevate and get into a structure that can withstand potentially Category 3 winds from a hurricane," said Long, the FEMA director.

"The bottom line message is, right now, if people have not heeded the warning, again, their window to do so is closing," Long said. "If they refuse to heed the warning, that's on them."

Long said he is "very worried" about storm surge, or "wind-driven water," slamming coastal areas, saying it has the "highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most amount of damage."

"Over the next five days, we're going to see copious amounts of rainfall, up to 25 inches, possibly, in some areas, with isolated higher amounts," he said. "This is going to be a slow-developing major disaster event for the state of Texas."

FEMA has pre-positioned incident management teams, as well as life-saving and life-sustaining commodities, and search-and-rescue teams in Texas, Long said.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he has spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana, saying he is "closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey developments and here to assist as needed."

"I think we'll be looking at the potential request for presidential disaster declarations coming up from Gov. Abbott," Long said. "The President has the ability, has the authority to sign off on those to mobilize our support to the state governments."

Officials also worried that Harvey's abundant rain will drench Texas and the region for several days.

"We could see this storm park for almost five days in some places, and we hear 3 feet of rain," said Bill Read, the former director of the National Hurricane Center. "That's just going to be a huge problem for these areas."

Harvey is also causing concern in New Orleans, where heavy rain could usher in as much as 20 inches of rain through early next week and overwhelm the city's already-compromised drainage system.

In a statement Friday to CNN, US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that "routine noncriminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks."

'I'm trying to be strong'

The threat of Harvey became evident Thursday when several coastal Texas counties issued evacuation orders, leading to hordes of residents sitting bumper to bumper miles.

Rose Yepez told CNN it took her twice as long as usual to drive 140 miles from Corpus Christi to San Antonio, en route to Texas Hill Country.

Private vehicles -- along with city buses packed with adults and children carrying backpacks -- jammed roads for hours.

"I'm shaking inside, but for them, I'm trying to be strong," a Corpus Christi woman who was waiting with her two daughters to board a bus out of town told CNN affiliate KRIS.

Workers at 39 offshore petroleum production platforms and an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico also evacuated Thursday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said anyone not leaving should plan to stay off the roads once the storm starts.

"People need to know, this is not a one-, two-day event and done," Turner said. "Even though it may seem like it will get better, this is a four- or five-day event, starting tomorrow evening, going through Monday or Tuesday."

Staying put, boarding up

First responders like Brittany Fowler stayed behind and waited for the storm.

"Hopefully it doesn't do any damage, but if it does, we've prepared," Fowler, a firefighter in Corpus Christi, wrote on Instagram.

Fowler's family helped by boarding up windows and doors at her home, and she bought plenty of water, food and a small power generator.

Corey Davis, by contrast, was free to go -- but opted to stay put, even as Harvey's winds started blowing Thursday night. Instead of packing, she and her relatives took turns climbing a tall ladder to secure plywood over windows at their Port O'Connor home.

"I'm scared, so I'm doing everything that I can to protect (this) little place down here," Davis told CNN affiliate KTRK, "and hope and pray for the best."

Despite the warnings, Elsie and David Reichenbacher prepped supplies and plan to stay put in Corpus Christi.

"I've gone through a lot of hurricanes. I've lived here most of my life," Elsie Reichenbacher said. "I'd rather take care of my home and my animals and be safe here. I'm on high ground with my house."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Hurricane Harvey continues churning toward Texas

Hurricane Harvey was given Category 3 status on Friday afternoon, Aug. 25.

Ahead of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested a major disaster declaration, which will trigger additional help from the federal government. "This is going to be a very major disaster," Abbott said Friday, warning of record-breaking flooding across south Texas.

The outer bands of Hurricane Harvey have begun swiping the Texas coast as 35 inches of rain and "catastrophic" storm-surge flooding is predicted after landfall late Friday or early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The combination of heavy rain, "life-threatening" storm surges, flooding and strong winds could leave wide swaths of South Texas "uninhabitable for weeks or months," the National Weather Service in Houston said. Such daunting language hasn't been seen by CNN's experts since Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.

Harvey, still a Category 2 hurricane, is on track to strengthen to Category 3, with winds of at least 111 mph by the time it makes landfall around Corpus Christi, forecasters said.

A hurricane warning is in effect for about 1.5 million people, with another 16 million under a tropical storm warning, the weather service said.

"Texas is about to have a very significant disaster," said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Residents were urged to evacuate. A mass exodus from the coast caused extensive traffic jams along the state's highways, while other people boarded up windows and stocked up on food and water ahead of the storm, the effects of which are expected to last for days.

After landfall, the storm will stall and dump rain on South Texas and parts of Louisiana into the middle of next week, forecasters predicted.

"All indications from the hurricane center are that this is going to be the first major hurricane the nation has dealt with since 2005," Long said.

Latest developments

-- Harvey strengthened early Friday, becoming a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 110 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

-- "The water is going to be the issue," Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said. "We've never had anything like this."

-- Isolated tornadoes are possible Friday across portions of the middle and upper Texas coast, the service said.

-- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has requested the activation of 700 National Guard members.

-- "We are prepared we are not panicking," Galveston Mayor James Yarbrough said.

-- The Ports of Corpus Christi and Galveston are closed. Three Galveston-based cruise ships in the Gulf of Mexico diverted to safer water.

FEMA prepared for 'significant disaster'

Those who stay should "elevate and get into a structure that can withstand potentially Category 3 winds from a hurricane," said Long, the FEMA director.

"The bottom line message is, right now, if people have not heeded the warning, again, their window to do so is closing," Long said. "If they refuse to heed the warning, that's on them."

Long said he is "very worried" about storm surge, or "wind-driven water," slamming coastal areas, saying it has the "highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most amount of damage."

"Over the next five days, we're going to see copious amounts of rainfall, up to 25 inches, possibly, in some areas, with isolated higher amounts," he said. "This is going to be a slow-developing major disaster event for the state of Texas."

FEMA has pre-positioned incident management teams, as well as life-saving and life-sustaining commodities, and search-and-rescue teams in Texas, Long said.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he has spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana, saying he is "closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey developments and here to assist as needed."

"I think we'll be looking at the potential request for presidential disaster declarations coming up from Gov. Abbott," Long said. "The President has the ability, has the authority to sign off on those to mobilize our support to the state governments."

Officials also worried that Harvey's abundant rain will drench Texas and the region for several days.

"We could see this storm park for almost five days in some places, and we hear 3 feet of rain," said Bill Read, the former director of the National Hurricane Center. "That's just going to be a huge problem for these areas."

Harvey is also causing concern in New Orleans, where heavy rain could usher in as much as 20 inches of rain through early next week and overwhelm the city's already-compromised drainage system.

In a statement Friday to CNN, US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that "routine noncriminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks."

'I'm trying to be strong'

The threat of Harvey became evident Thursday when several coastal Texas counties issued evacuation orders, leading to hordes of residents sitting bumper to bumper miles.

Rose Yepez told CNN it took her twice as long as usual to drive 140 miles from Corpus Christi to San Antonio, en route to Texas Hill Country.

Private vehicles -- along with city buses packed with adults and children carrying backpacks -- jammed roads for hours.

"I'm shaking inside, but for them, I'm trying to be strong," a Corpus Christi woman who was waiting with her two daughters to board a bus out of town told CNN affiliate KRIS.

Workers at 39 offshore petroleum production platforms and an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico also evacuated Thursday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said anyone not leaving should plan to stay off the roads once the storm starts.

"People need to know, this is not a one-, two-day event and done," Turner said. "Even though it may seem like it will get better, this is a four- or five-day event, starting tomorrow evening, going through Monday or Tuesday."

Staying put, boarding up

First responders like Brittany Fowler stayed behind and waited for the storm.

"Hopefully it doesn't do any damage, but if it does, we've prepared," Fowler, a firefighter in Corpus Christi, wrote on Instagram.

Fowler's family helped by boarding up windows and doors at her home, and she bought plenty of water, food and a small power generator.

Corey Davis, by contrast, was free to go -- but opted to stay put, even as Harvey's winds started blowing Thursday night. Instead of packing, she and her relatives took turns climbing a tall ladder to secure plywood over windows at their Port O'Connor home.

"I'm scared, so I'm doing everything that I can to protect (this) little place down here," Davis told CNN affiliate KTRK, "and hope and pray for the best."

Despite the warnings, Elsie and David Reichenbacher prepped supplies and plan to stay put in Corpus Christi.

"I've gone through a lot of hurricanes. I've lived here most of my life," Elsie Reichenbacher said. "I'd rather take care of my home and my animals and be safe here. I'm on high ground with my house."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Hurricane Harvey continues churning toward Texas

Hurricane Harvey was given Category 3 status on Friday afternoon, Aug. 25.

Ahead of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested a major disaster declaration, which will trigger additional help from the federal government. "This is going to be a very major disaster," Abbott said Friday, warning of record-breaking flooding across south Texas.

The outer bands of Hurricane Harvey have begun swiping the Texas coast as 35 inches of rain and "catastrophic" storm-surge flooding is predicted after landfall late Friday or early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The combination of heavy rain, "life-threatening" storm surges, flooding and strong winds could leave wide swaths of South Texas "uninhabitable for weeks or months," the National Weather Service in Houston said. Such daunting language hasn't been seen by CNN's experts since Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.

Harvey, still a Category 2 hurricane, is on track to strengthen to Category 3, with winds of at least 111 mph by the time it makes landfall around Corpus Christi, forecasters said.

A hurricane warning is in effect for about 1.5 million people, with another 16 million under a tropical storm warning, the weather service said.

"Texas is about to have a very significant disaster," said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Residents were urged to evacuate. A mass exodus from the coast caused extensive traffic jams along the state's highways, while other people boarded up windows and stocked up on food and water ahead of the storm, the effects of which are expected to last for days.

After landfall, the storm will stall and dump rain on South Texas and parts of Louisiana into the middle of next week, forecasters predicted.

"All indications from the hurricane center are that this is going to be the first major hurricane the nation has dealt with since 2005," Long said.

Latest developments

-- Harvey strengthened early Friday, becoming a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 110 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

-- "The water is going to be the issue," Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said. "We've never had anything like this."

-- Isolated tornadoes are possible Friday across portions of the middle and upper Texas coast, the service said.

-- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has requested the activation of 700 National Guard members.

-- "We are prepared we are not panicking," Galveston Mayor James Yarbrough said.

-- The Ports of Corpus Christi and Galveston are closed. Three Galveston-based cruise ships in the Gulf of Mexico diverted to safer water.

FEMA prepared for 'significant disaster'

Those who stay should "elevate and get into a structure that can withstand potentially Category 3 winds from a hurricane," said Long, the FEMA director.

"The bottom line message is, right now, if people have not heeded the warning, again, their window to do so is closing," Long said. "If they refuse to heed the warning, that's on them."

Long said he is "very worried" about storm surge, or "wind-driven water," slamming coastal areas, saying it has the "highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most amount of damage."

"Over the next five days, we're going to see copious amounts of rainfall, up to 25 inches, possibly, in some areas, with isolated higher amounts," he said. "This is going to be a slow-developing major disaster event for the state of Texas."

FEMA has pre-positioned incident management teams, as well as life-saving and life-sustaining commodities, and search-and-rescue teams in Texas, Long said.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he has spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana, saying he is "closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey developments and here to assist as needed."

"I think we'll be looking at the potential request for presidential disaster declarations coming up from Gov. Abbott," Long said. "The President has the ability, has the authority to sign off on those to mobilize our support to the state governments."

Officials also worried that Harvey's abundant rain will drench Texas and the region for several days.

"We could see this storm park for almost five days in some places, and we hear 3 feet of rain," said Bill Read, the former director of the National Hurricane Center. "That's just going to be a huge problem for these areas."

Harvey is also causing concern in New Orleans, where heavy rain could usher in as much as 20 inches of rain through early next week and overwhelm the city's already-compromised drainage system.

In a statement Friday to CNN, US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that "routine noncriminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks."

'I'm trying to be strong'

The threat of Harvey became evident Thursday when several coastal Texas counties issued evacuation orders, leading to hordes of residents sitting bumper to bumper miles.

Rose Yepez told CNN it took her twice as long as usual to drive 140 miles from Corpus Christi to San Antonio, en route to Texas Hill Country.

Private vehicles -- along with city buses packed with adults and children carrying backpacks -- jammed roads for hours.

"I'm shaking inside, but for them, I'm trying to be strong," a Corpus Christi woman who was waiting with her two daughters to board a bus out of town told CNN affiliate KRIS.

Workers at 39 offshore petroleum production platforms and an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico also evacuated Thursday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said anyone not leaving should plan to stay off the roads once the storm starts.

"People need to know, this is not a one-, two-day event and done," Turner said. "Even though it may seem like it will get better, this is a four- or five-day event, starting tomorrow evening, going through Monday or Tuesday."

Staying put, boarding up

First responders like Brittany Fowler stayed behind and waited for the storm.

"Hopefully it doesn't do any damage, but if it does, we've prepared," Fowler, a firefighter in Corpus Christi, wrote on Instagram.

Fowler's family helped by boarding up windows and doors at her home, and she bought plenty of water, food and a small power generator.

Corey Davis, by contrast, was free to go -- but opted to stay put, even as Harvey's winds started blowing Thursday night. Instead of packing, she and her relatives took turns climbing a tall ladder to secure plywood over windows at their Port O'Connor home.

"I'm scared, so I'm doing everything that I can to protect (this) little place down here," Davis told CNN affiliate KTRK, "and hope and pray for the best."

Despite the warnings, Elsie and David Reichenbacher prepped supplies and plan to stay put in Corpus Christi.

"I've gone through a lot of hurricanes. I've lived here most of my life," Elsie Reichenbacher said. "I'd rather take care of my home and my animals and be safe here. I'm on high ground with my house."

The-CNN-Wire
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