UPDATE: Counties order evacuations as Harvey nears Texas

8 p.m. UPDATE: More counties along the Texas Gulf coast are ordering mandatory evacuations as Hurricane Harvey becomes a growing menace to the area.
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5 p.m. UPDATE: With the rapidly strengthening Hurricane Harvey bearing down on the Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center ominously warned residents that preparations “should be rushed to completion.”

Projections show it weakening before it makes landfall, but at the very least, forecasters said, Harvey would bring a “life threatening” storm surge and “devastating” freshwater flooding.

The hurricane center also warned that a combination of storm surge and tides will bring rising waters inland, rising to 3 to 8 feet in parts of coastal Texas and Louisiana, and as much as 12 feet near Texas’ Padre Island National Seashore.

The hurricane center has issued tropical storm, hurricane and storm surge watches and warnings for parts of Texas and northeastern Mexico. It said ominously that preparations

At 5 p.m., the storm was about 300 miles southeast of Corpus Christi and about the same distance south-southeast of Port O’Connor. It was moving north-northwest at 10 mph.

 

 

UPDATE 2pm:

Harvey, a storm that had fizzled, came back Thursday as a full-fledged hurricane, the third of the season, and threatened the Gulf Coast.

The National Hurricane Center said in a 1 p.m. advisory that a Hurricane Hunter plane that flew into the storm reported it had top winds of 80 mph.

The hurricane center had said in an earlier advisory that Harvey was “quickly strengthening and forecast to be a major hurricane when it approaches the middle Texas coast,” the National Hurricane Center said in an 11 a.m. bulletin. A “major” hurricane is one of at least Category 3 on the 1-5 Saffir-Simpson Scale, with top sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

At 1 p.m., Hurricane Harvey was about 340 miles southeast of Corpus Christi and about the same distance south-southeast of Port O’Connor, Texas. It was moving west at 10 mph.

Harvey was expected to turn west and slow down, and make landfall in Texas Friday night or early Saturday, then stall all weekend, dropping rains across the area of 12 to 20 inches, perhaps even 30 inches in spots.

Projections show it weakening before it makes landfall, but at the very least, forecasters said, Harvey would bring a “life threatening” storm surge and freshwater flooding.

The hurricane center has issued tropical storm, hurricane and storm surge watches and warnings for parts of Texas and northeastern Mexico.

UPDATE: Tropical system now has a 40% chance of development

UPDATE: Tropical system now has a 40% chance of development

UPDATE, 8 p.m.: The chance of development has increased to 40 percent as the trough of low pressure north-northeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands moves through the Bahamas toward Florida.

It’s producing an elongated area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms that extends southeastward toward Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, according to the 8 p.m. tropical weather outlook. The next update will be posted at 2 a.m.

Conditions could become more conducive for development later in the week when the system nears Florida or the adjacent waters of the western Atlantic or eastern Gulf of Mexico.

SOUTH FLORIDA FORECAST: Clouds likely for eclipse; Tuesday may see rain, flood worry

Check the latest tropical outlook

Meanwhile, the remnants of Tropical Storm Harvey are moving west-northwestward at 15 to 20 mph near the coast of Honduras. It could become a tropical cyclone again before it reaches the coast of Belize or the Yucatan Peninsula early Tuesday.

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UPDATE, 11:30 a.m.: According to the South Florida Water Management District, water managers are lowering canals throughout the region in anticipation of above-average rainfall early this week.

“Water managers are positioning the regional system to move water as quickly as possible,” the district’s official Twitter account reported, “and accept water from local canals.”

The district is installing three temporary pumps to drain down water at a southern Palm Beach County border with the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.

As a result, two of four boat ramps located at the Loxahatchee Road Boat Ramp on the southern border of the Loxahatchee Refuge will close, as will the western part of the parking lot, starting Monday.

Three systems which the National Hurricane Center is watching closely.

After Harvey dissipated into a tropical wave late Saturday night, attention has turned to a second, weaker tropical system which may affect local weather even if it doesn’t become a depression or storm.

Robert Molleda, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Miami office, said that periods of locally heavy rainfall, along with gusty winds in the heaviest showers, should hit South Florida beginning late Monday.

The area of low pressure, according to the National Hurricane Center, has a 20 percent chance of forming into a depression in the next five days, but it could cross into the Bahamas or southeastern Florida by early next week.

According to AccuWeather, this low-pressure area is being kept disorganized by strong winds and other factors. “Currently, (it) is being sheared by strong northwest winds and the system is sandwiched between two large areas of dry air and dust,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Koslowski.

AccuWeather adds that there’s a stronger likelihood next week of increased rain and high winds.

The remnants of Harvey continue to move toward the Yucatan peninsula with a 50 percent chance of reforming in the next two days.

A third area of interest, about 1000 miles east of the Leeward Islands, has a very low chance of formation and appears to have little chance of affecting land masses over the next few days.

UPDATE: Tropical Storm Harvey forms; 70% chance of new system

Tropical outlook

8 P.M. UPDATE: Harvey is headed toward the Windward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Dominica. The next update will be at 11 p.m.

Meanwhile, shower and thunderstorm activity associated with an area of low pressure about 1,000 miles east of the Leeward Islands has a 70 percent chance of developing into a tropical system. The next tropical outlook will be at 2 a.m.

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Update 5 pm: Tropical Storm Harvey, the eighth named storm of the year, has formed, the National Hurricane Center said in a 5 p.m. advisory. It said a Hurricane Hunter plane that flew into the system had clocked top sustained winds at 40 mph, 3 mph over the threshold to become a tropical storm. At 5 p.m., the storm was about 250 miles east of Barbados and was moving west at about 18 mph. Its forecast track sends it into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula as a minimal hurricane early next week. It said the system will bring rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches, with potentially life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, to the Windward Islands.

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Update 2pm: A Hurricane Hunter plane is flying into Tropical Depression 9, which could become Tropical Storm Harvey by later today, the National Hurricane Center said in a 2 p.m. update. At 2 p.m., the system was about 295 miles east of Barbados, with 35 mph sustained winds at 35 mph. It was moving west at 17 mph.

Update 11 a.m.: Tropical Depression 9 has formed and could become Tropical Storm Harvey as early as this afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said at 11 a.m. in its first advisory on the system.

At 11 a.m., the depression was about 365 miles east of Barbados, or about 2,000 miles east-southeast of Palm Beach. It was heading due west at about 17 mph, and the 5-day forecast pushes it into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula early next week.

It had top sustained winds of 35 mph, just 2 mph below the threshold to become a tropical storm. Tropical storm warnings were posted for Martinique, Barbados, St. Vincent, and the Grenadine and St. Lucia, and a watch for Dominica.

The Hurricane Center also said at 11 a.m. that Hurricane Gert, in the North Atlantic, is “quickly becoming extratropical, and the transition process should complete later today,” the update said. It said the system should bang into, and be swallowed by, another extratropical system in the next 48 hours.

10:30 a.m.: Hurricane Gert, far to the north, is no threat to Florida, and neither are three systems moving their way across the ocean, at least for now, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. Tropical Weather Outlook.

The low-pressure system about 550 miles east of the Lesser Antilles became better organized overnight and could be a tropical depression later today or tonight. It has an 80 percent chance of forming in the next 48 hours. The hurricane center said it plans to issue advisories around midday.

A second area about halfway between the Lesser Antilles and the African Coast  is moving west at 15  to 20 mph. The outlook did give the system a 50 percent chance of forming in the next 48 hours. But, it said, “upper-level wind are expected to become less conducive for tropical cyclone formation” by this weekend.

And a tropical wave near the Cabo Verde Islands, just off the African coast, could develop during the next several days while it moves westward to west-northwest at about 15 mph, the outlook said. It said the chance of formation in the next five days is 40 percent.

Gert is several hundred miles south of Cape Race, Newfoundland, and racing into the North Atlantic.