Hurricane Harvey hits at Category 4, now a Category 1

A lone car crosses the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway in the distance as rain from Hurricane Harvey falls on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, in Port Isabel, Texas. The causeway will be closed to traffic by the Texas Department of Public Safety when conditions worsen, keeping individuals on South Padre Island in place while the storm passes near the deep South Texas coastal town. (Jason Hoekema/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

HOUSTON (CBS)  —  Hurricane Harvey has reached Texas bringing fierce winds and torrential rain to a wide swath of the state’s Gulf Coast, prompting tens of thousands of resident to flee inland. The National Hurricane Center said the eyewall of the dangerous Category 4 storm reached the coast on Friday evening. By 4am on Saturday, the storm was downgraded to a Category 2.  Around 6:15 Saturday morning, Hurricane Harvey became a Category 1 storm with top wind speeds near 90 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported. Tide gauges near Port Lavaca, Texas, recorded water levels more than 6.5 feet higher than normal.

 The storm was expected to make landfall near Corpus Christi late Friday or early Saturday morning.

The National Weather Service warns some residents may not be able to return to their homes for weeks or months.

Houston is bracing for 15 to 25 inches of rainfall, with some areas getting up to 3 feet of total rainfall by Wednesday, CBS affiliate KHOU-TV reports.

“In terms of economic impact, Harvey will probably be on par with Hurricane Katrina,” Brian McNoldy, a senior hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, told the Associated Press. “The Houston area and Corpus Christi are going to be a mess for a long time.”

Follow along below for live updates on the storm. All times are Eastern.

9:51 p.m.: President Trump signs disaster proclamation

President Trump tweeted shortly before 10 p.m. that he had signed a disaster proclamation, which Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said earlier Friday he had requested. The disaster proclamation will allow federal funds to flow into state and local relief efforts.

8:20 p.m.: Evacuees seek refuge in San Antonio

Hundreds of evacuees seeking shelter from Hurricane Harvey arrived in San Antonio on Friday, CBS affiliate KENS-TV reports.

Two shelters opened their doors Friday morning, and city officials announced they would make room for at least 6,000 evacuees.

“I get deep anxiety when it comes to stuff like this,” Justine Vela of Corpus Christi told the station. Vela packed up her four children and left for San Antonio.

“My kids don’t kinda know what’s going on because they are little,” she said. “I’m trying to keep them calm and safe. This is the best place for us to be right now.”

7:45 p.m.: Trump prepares to face first major natural disaster as president

Hurricane Harvey will be the first major natural disasterof President Trump’s administration. The White House is saying FEMA has changed since the organization’s dismal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, CBS News’ chief White House correspondent Major Garrett reports.

The failures of Katrina haunt emergency planners to this day, so much so, White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert felt compelled to say “now is not the time to lose faith in your government institutions.”

“All the mayors and governors saw what happened at Katrina and they’re not gonna let that happen,” says David Paulison, who headed FEMA after Katrina and until 2009. He says that Katrina changed management procedures.

“Before we waited for the local community to become overwhelmed before the state stepped in, and waited for the state to become overwhelmed before the federal government stepped in,” Paulison tells Garrett.

7:40 p.m.: FEMA urges residents to follow future orders

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials are encouraging residents and visitors in Hurricane Harvey’s path to follow directions from local and state officials.

“I encourage residents who will be affected to follow directions from their local officials,” Administrator Brock Long said in a statement. “Know your threats, heed the warnings, and if you’re in the path of the storm, ensure your family is prepared for possible prolonged disruptions to normal services.”

The agency has set up bases near Seguin, Texas, and areas closer to the storm’s path to store supplies including more than 96,000 liters of water, 306,000 meals and 4,500 tarps and blankets, the Associated Press reports. State and local officials will be responsible for distributing the materials as needed.

7:20 p.m.: 20-30 inches of rain expected in Victoria, Texas

Victoria, Texas, is about 20 miles from the coast, but the distance is not expected to shield it from the worst impacts of Hurricane Harvey. Aside from winds up to 105 miles per hour, the biggest threat is the rain, CBS News’ Manuel Bojorquez reports.

Victoria is in the bull’s eye of Hurricane Harvey’s rain, with 20-30 inches expected over the next 72 hours. that’s a year’s worth of rain for this city.

The flooding is expected to be worse than Victoria’s 1998 disaster.

“We’ve never seen a forecast for that kind of localized rain, and I’ve been working hurricanes and emergencies here for several years. It’s the most dangerous forecast we’ve ever seen,” said O.C. Garza the Victoria Office of Emergency Management.

7:15 p.m.: Corpus Christi police stop responding to emergency calls

Corpus Christi police are not responding to calls for emergency service because of the current weather conditions. If you live in the area and you want to get out, the free bus rides are over and the city has discontinued the service, CBS News correspondent David Begnaud reports.

The National Weather Service says winds could leave homes uninhabitable for weeks or even months. Storm surge could reach 12 feet — that’s strong enough to wash away vehicles, Begnaud reports.

Fears of a power outage forced the sickest babies at a children’s hospital to be moved out of the hurricane’s path. Others are heeding the warnings and evacuating on their own.

7:02 p.m.Hurricane Harvey upgraded to Category 4 storm

The National Hurricane Center has upgraded Hurricane Harvey to a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and is moving northwest at a speed of 8 miles an hour. The storm is about 45 miles outside of Corpus Christi.

6:09 p.m.: Houston officials resist calls for evacuation

Houston is bracing for dozens of inches of rain, but officials are urging residents to stay put.

Judge Ed Emmett, Harris County’s top official, said “no mass evacuations” would be called because the hurricane would not “directly” hit the area.

“Always say run from water, hide from wind, we mean storm surge, not rain. [It’s] not the kind of water we would ask people to evacuation from,” Emmett said.

Mayor Sylvester Turner also urged residents to stay off roads and in their homes. Turner said there might be “greater danger” in having residents who don’t need to be evacuated onto roads that could possibly flood, the Associated Press reports.

6:13 p.m.: NWS issues “EXTREME WIND WARNING”

The National Weather Service in Corpus Christi has issued a warning for southwestern Calhoun County in south Texas, urging residents to “TAKE COVER NOW!”

“Widespread destructive winds of 115 to 145 mph will spread across Calhoun County, Aransas County, Nueces County, San Patricio County, Refugio County, producing swaths of tornado-like damage,” the advisory says. “TAKE COVER NOW! Treat these imminent extreme winds as if a tornado was approaching and move immediately to the safe room in your shelter. Take action now to protect your life!”

5:08 p.m.: Wind speeds reach 125 mph, officials warn of “catastrophic flooding”

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says in an update that Harvey now has wind speeds of 125 mph. It’s now about 60 miles southeast of Corpus Christi.

The NHC also says some areas of Texas could get 40 inches of rain and cause “catastrophic flooding.” The storm surge is expected to be between 6 to 12 feet along parts of the coast.

5:06 p.m.: Feds won’t question families about immigration status at shelters

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a joint statement Friday saying they won’t question the immigration status of families arriving to hurricane shelters in Texas and Louisiana.

The agencies said their “highest priorities are to promote life-saving and life-sustaining activities, the safe evacuation of people who are leaving the impacted area, the maintenance of public order, the prevention of the loss of property to the extent possible, and the speedy recovery of the region.”

The joint statement said that routine “non-criminal immigration enforcement operations” would not be conducted at evacuation sites or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks.

It also warned that immigration laws would not be suspended, and the agencies would “be vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm.”

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