Update: Harvey Strengthens to a Category 4 Hurricane

Only hours from an imminent landfall occurring in Texas, Hurricane Harvey — which has strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds at 130 miles per hour and with wind gusts even stronger — is expected to cause widespread catastrophic damage to the city of Houston and other areas all along the coastline of southeastern Texas as the first major hurricane to hit the United States since the landfall of Hurricane Wilma occurred in South Florida in October of 2005 almost 12 years ago.

If southern portions of Texas and Louisiana are in your travel plans over the next week or so, you are strongly urged to delay your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information pertaining to the weather — due to torrential rains which are expected to deliver as much as 40 inches of rain and catastrophic flooding.

Update: Harvey Strengthens to a Category 4 Hurricane

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey heads across the western Gulf of Mexico towards the coastline of the state of Texas, which is outlined with purple lines. Note how clearly defined is the eye of the storm, which is a clear indicator of its strength. Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

When a tropical system becomes more compacted as its eye becomes more clearly defined, that is typically affirmation of the significant strengthening of a hurricane.

Hurricane Harvey — which is currently approximately 40 miles east of Corpus Christi — is moving northwest at a speed of eight miles per hour. In addition to damaging winds, disruptions in power, dangerous surf, beach erosion, and a storm surge of up to 12 feet in some locations, the main event is expected to be disastrous widespread flooding from as much as 40 inches of heavy rain — with some isolated tornadoes possible.

The flooding is expected to be so severe that evacuations are mandatory in certain locations. Shortages in food, fuel and supplies — as well as spikes in prices — is also a distinct possibility.

Airports which are expected to experience interruptions and delays in operations include — but are not limited to — those in Houston, Beaumont, Austin, Lake Charles, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, College Station, McAllen, San Antonio and New Orleans. Hundreds of flights have already been canceled.

Other airports which are expected to be affected to a lesser extent — but may eventually be included in the travel alerts of airlines — include Shreveport, Gulfport and Baton Rouge. Expect significant delays and possibly some cancellations.

A state of disaster was officially declared for 30 counties in Texas; and the entire state of Louisiana is under a state of emergency because of the hurricane.

By Sunday morning, the system will have lost its tropical characteristics with sustained winds less than 39 miles per hour; but it may still adversely affect some of the same airports — as it loops sharply around towards the east while lingering over Texas for days — with locally heavy rains and flooding.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to anywhere in the region of the Texas and Louisiana coasts of the Gulf of Mexico over the next week or so, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to this winter weather system which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of these areas, watch out for deteriorating weather conditions and traffic problems.

Cruise ships are being rerouted to avoid the storm; so if you are a passenger on a cruise ship who planned to travel this week to or from Texas, check with the cruise line which operates your voyage to find out further details.

Here are eleven airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this tropical weather system — some of them which have been updated since the last article pertaining to Hurricane Harvey posted at The Gate:

Summary

Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely and carefully, as Hurricane Harvey is considered to be life-threatening.

Please also keep the people of southeastern Texas in your thoughts and prayers. They will need all of the help that they can get…

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

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