All signs are pointing to the fact that Harvey is going to be a catastrophic storm for Texas and even parts of Louisiana.
The latest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reconnaissance flight found a pressure of 944 mb and a 10 sec wind speed of 109 mph. As the pressure falls and the hurricane strengthens, it takes the wind speeds a while to “catch up.”
The official forecast is for Harvey to become a major hurricane at landfall (a Category 3 or greater).
The risks will be broken into several categories: high winds, storm surge, tornadoes and catastrophic freshwater flooding.
Landfall will occur late Friday night or early Saturday morning.
Port O’Connor, Texas is the likely point of landfall. The strongest winds are confined to several miles around the eye, in the eye-wall. Tropical Storm force winds are extending out a couple of hundred miles.
Power outages are likely along the coast and up to 50 miles inland. Winds up to 115 mph could be strong enough to cause structural damage.
The storm surge may reach 12 feet. Keep in mind, several inches of water can knock you off your feet. A foot of moving water can float a car. Three to four feet of moving water can float your car away. Up to 12 feet of moving water is enough to push a house off its foundation.
Harvey is forecast to remain nearly stationary for several days. Tropical rainfall rates will likely top 2 inches per hour. Some areas may sustain these rates for two or three days.
The official rainfall forecast is for up to 30 inches of rain. I wouldn’t be surprised if some areas DOUBLED that. The record for the most rainfall received in a tropical cyclone is 48 inches, when Amelia made landfall in Texas in 1978. That record is a national record. Harvey could break that record.
The worst case scenario is if Harvey reemerges into the Gulf of Mexico and makes a secondary landfall near Houston. This would inundate portions of Louisiana as well.
It's still too far out to accurately say whether the remnants of the system could have impacts here in New England toward the end of next week.