Tropical Storm Harvey is bringing the 2017 hurricane season to my home state. And while it's the Texas Gulf Coast that will take the first hit late Friday, Aug. 25/early Saturday, Aug. 26, the storm will be felt well inland. Including here in Austin.
Meteorologists are forecasting that Harvey could be a Category 3 hurricane by the time it makes landfall. If so, it would be the first major hurricane to make U.S. landfall since Wilma in 2005.
UPDATE Aug. 24, 2017, 5:30 p.m.: The dire predictions are looking like they are on the mark. This afternoon, Harvey was strong enough to earn Category 1 hurricane status, with the National Hurricane Center warning in its usual alert all capital letters: HARVEY HEADED TOWARD THE TEXAS COAST … LIFE-THREATENING AND DEVASTATING FLOODING EXPECTED NEAR THE COAST DUE TO HEAVY RAINFALL AND STORM SURGE.
Inland warnings, too: We're not expecting storm force winds, although hurricanes often do produce low-level tornadoes. What we're prepping for is rain. Lots and lots of rain.
A couple of years ago when were in a terrible drought, I actually hoped for a minor tropical system to come in around Corpus Christi, do no damage, then proceed up over Central Texas giving us some much-needed rain.
Be careful what you wish for.
While it's been a dry summer, we're no longer in an arid alert. In fact, the area lakes are near full. Plus, the Austin and Hill Country areas are full of low lying roads.
So there's a real danger from potential flooding, which is expected because Harvey is so slow moving.
Get ready, now! We're in a high area, so we're just hunkering down for days of rain and a soggy backyard.
If, however, you live along the Lone Star State coast and are told by officials to evacuate, do it! As soon as they say.
You can find more storm preparation advice, as well as tips on recovering from any storm damage, at the ol' blog's special Storm Warnings page.
The links there also look at special tax help in recovering from hurricane or any natural disaster damage, as well as suggest ways you can help folks if you're not in the storm area.
Check out the full page, but here are a couple of immediately useful highlights:
- Take a pre-disaster inventory
- Get financially and physically ready for tropical storms
- IRS Form 4868, a disaster victim's best friend
But the best and main piece of advice I or anyone can give when a storm is approaching is to prepare and stay safe!