As Harvey Nears, Central Texas Coast Shuts Down

August 25, 2017

The National Hurricane Center has called off the hurricane watch from Port Mansfield, Texas, south to the mouth of the Rio Grande, but the Hurricane Harvey scenario for Corpus Christi and the surrounding areas on the mid-Texas coast seems to be worsening by the hour.

At 10 a.m. CDT, the NHC said Harvey was packing winds of up to 110 mph and that intensification is possible before it makes landfall late today or early on Saturday.

Reuters reported that Hurricane Harvey is potentially the most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland in more than a decade, as authorities warned locals to shelter from what could be life-threatening winds and floods.

According to the Insurance Council of Texas, Harvey will be the first hurricane to hit the coast near Corpus Christi for 40 years.

In advance of the storm, businesses, coastal ferries, off shore drilling operations, refineries and even local grocery stores have shut down in the mid-coastal areas, and mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for numerous municipalities and counties along the coast.

Source: National Hurricane Center

Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday declared 30 Texas counties as disaster areas in advance of Harvey. He has urged residents to heed the warnings of local officials, voluntarily evacuate if advised to and to comply with all mandatory evacuation orders.

“My priority, as we prepare for Hurricane Harvey, is the safety of those on and near the Gulf Coast,” Abbott in a prepared statement.. “That is why I am strongly urging all Texans in Harvey’s path to heed warnings and evacuation orders from local officials before this storm makes landfall. My office is coordinating local, state and federal resources to prepare for and respond decisively to this storm — Texans must also take action and treat this storm seriously.”

Abbott spoke to President Donald Trump on Aug. 24 about the storm. According to the governor’s office, Trump called Abbott to offer federal support. Trump pledged all available resources from the federal government to assist in preparation, and rescue and recovery efforts.

Corpus Christi is home to a number of large petroleum refineries. The Houston Chronicle’s Fuel Fix unit reported that refiners Valero Energy and Flint Hills Resources have temporarily shut “down gasoline production along Corpus’ refinery row, while Houston-area refiners are continuing to closely monitor the massive storm.”

Facilities along the Gulf Coast refine 50 percent of the nation’s petroleum supply, with Texas representing 25 percent of the nation’s capacity for gasoline refining. Bloomberg News reported that the “five refineries in the Corpus Christi area can process about 868,000 barrels a day, according to Lipow Oil Associates. Another 11 refineries in Houston, Texas City and Baytown have a capacity of about 2.7 million barrels a day.”

According to AIR, although Hurricane Harvey is expected to bring hurricane winds and life threatening storm surge to many regions along the Gulf Coast, the heavy rain — which will be exacerbated if the storm stalls over land — could result in severe and dangerous inland flooding for parts of Texas, southwestern Louisiana, and even northeastern Mexico.

The NHC predicts storm surge of up to 12 feet in the areas closest to where Harvey makes landfall.

Global property information and analytics provider, CoreLogic released data on Aug. 24 showing that 232,721 homes along the Texas coast with a reconstruction cost value (RCV) of approximately $39.6 billion are at potential risk of hurricane-driven storm surge damage from Hurricane Harvey, based on Category 3 predictions.

Corpus Christi has 34,802 homes potentially at risk from Harvey and a reconstruction cost value (RCV) of $6,172,039,671, according to CoreLogic. The combined Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland areas have 118,138 homes at risk for an RCV of $20,820,079,983, and Beaumont-Port Arthur has 75,567 homes potentially at risk and a RCV of $12,081,775,805.

According to Reuters, the “NHC expects Harvey to move slowly and linger over Texas for days. Its latest tracking model shows the storm moving back along the Texas coast early next week after sitting west of Houston, giving the nation’s fourth most populous city a double dose of rain and wind.”

Voluntary evacuation orders have been issued for parts of Galveston County, Harris County and Jackson County. Brazoria, Calhoun, Matagorda and San Patricio Counties are under mandatory evacuation orders.

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