Harvey Makes Historic Landfall in Texas; only beginning of Disastrous Several Days

Hurricane Harvey has made landfall on the Texas coast as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and gusts possibly as high as 145 mph around 10 pm CDT Friday night. It did so between Port Aransas and Port O’Conor.

Hurricane Harvey making landfall in Texas tonight.
The eye of the hurricane moving ashore at 10:20 pm CDT. Destructive surge also in progress under and just north of the eye in addition to damaging winds in the eyewall surrounding the calmer eye.

As the system very slowly moves inland overnight it will gradually weaken. With that said, its damaging wind field will spread inland somewhat as it does so. However the biggest and most dangerous threat will continue to be (as it’s already begun) its heavy rainfall. As it stalls out “thanks” to VERY strong upper-level high pressure over the Western US, Harvey will literally sit over Southeast TX for 4-5 days dumping copious amounts of rain in bands of thunderstorms and tropical downpours. The result will likely be this:

National Hurricane Center forecast rainfall from Harvey tonight through next Wednesday. Up to 30 inches possible with isolated amounts up to 40 inches in “greater than 20 inch” coverage.

These rainfall totals will come with rainfall rates of perhaps 4-6 inches/hr, capable of producing catastrophic flash flooding.

Track forecast for Harvey showing the terrible “weak steering” forecast in which the system has no steering current to shift it out of the area. It will produce prolific amounts of rain in short order.
Global Forecast System Model forecast valid 7 pm CDT Saturday showing sea level pressure and heights at 500 millibars (mid-levels of the atmosphere). The mid-level heights extending northward into the Western US/Canada associated with a ridge of the high pressure will prevent the low level circulation of Harvey in TX from advancing far inland.

On a historic note: Hurricane Harvey is the first major hurricane (Cat 3+) to make landfall in the US since Wilma in 2005 and the first Category 4 to do so since Charley in 2004. It is the first major hurricane for Texas since 1999 Bret and first Category 4 for that state since 1961 Carla.

–Meteorologist Nick Humphrey


Author: Meteorologist Nick Humphrey

Meteorologist and geoscientist in Lincoln, NE. Seattle, WA native. Love weather, storm chasing/photography and planetary science.

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