Though with weather anything can happen as of Thursday both the National Weather Service and the Weather Channel were forecasting the eye of what, as of press time Thursday afternoon Tropical Storm Harvey, was no longer headed directly toward the tip of South Texas.
Earlier this week weather forecasters had Harvey heading directly toward the tip of South Texas prompting emergency management officials to begin preparing for the inevitable flooding. However, by Wednesday forecasters had re-plotted the tropical depression’s course predicting a more northerly route with the storm’s center expected to arrive closer to Corpus Christi than Brownsville.
This screen shot from the Weather Channel captured Thursday morning depicts the anticipated path for what was once Tropical Storm Harvey and shows the storm is no longer headed directly for the tip of Texas.
According to the National Weather Service and the Weather Channel, as of Thursday morning the storm was forecast to track toward the Texas Gulf Coast and make landfall near Corpus Christi late Friday and was expected to strengthen to a hurricane before landfall. Harvey was expected to then stall or meander for a few days, leading to a dangerous flood threat in parts of Texas and Louisiana.
Hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge watches had been issued for parts of Texas.
This is what the National Weather Service posted as of 9:24 a.m. Thursday.
“Harvey strengthened overnight and has been upgraded to a Tropical Storm…and may become a Hurricane later this morning. Forward motion has increased and a larger wind field is detected by NOAA and Hurricane Hunter Aircraft investigating the storm all night. With the increased strength and forward motion this warrants Hurricane Warnings and Tropical Storm Warnings being issued with a potential landfall in about 36-42 hours or Friday evening in the vicinity of Baffin Bay. Convection continues to blossom near the center of Harvey with environmental conditions becoming favorable for rapid intensification this morning and continuing through the day. Current forecasts takes the center of circulation through the coastal waters northeast of the city of South Padre Friday continuing on a northwest track to around Baffin Bay Friday night.
After that, a lot of uncertainty – and potentially much more rain than currently forecast in the Northern Ranchlands and areas along the Texas Coastal Bend with a some lower probabilities of heavy rainfall moving farther south into portions of the Rio Grande with some models moving Harvey south or meandering near the Northern Ranchlands maintaining a good surge of tropical moisture through the Weekend and maybe linger into Monday.”
“Sunday and Monday they were saying it would have a direct impact [on South Texas] and we would have been in the center of what they call the cone, but now we’re going to be at the southern most portion of the cone,” said James Cardoza, Mission’s emergency management coordinator Wednesday morning. When he spoke with the Progress Times Cardoza said he had just finished conferring with with his cohort from Hidalgo County, Rick Saldaña, and Barry Goldsmith of the National Weather Service’s Brownsville office. Cardoza said the new forecast means for Mission intermittent “rain bands.”
“Some people will see a good rain band and they might see that and that’s it. Some people may see more, some people may see a lot less,” Cardoza said.
“Everybody’s getting their pumps ready, sand bags, for a possible flood event,” Saldaña had said Tuesday
Saldaña said the biggest concern was the impact heavy rains would have on roads under construction in the area making hazardous conditions for busses given Monday is the first day of class for most school districts in the county.
Saldaña said his office would be utilizing local broadcast media to provide necessary advisories to residents, if necessary.
Cardoza said drainage improvements in Mission over the past several years have reduced the risk of flooding from torrential rains but he said some homes built in low-lying areas and colonias could still be subject to some flooding because colonias do not have storm drains.
Cardoza said South Padre Island officials were still preparing for possible flooding.
“But we’re not the island. We’re seventy plus miles from the island and storm surge has nothing to do us,” Cardoza said. “And our drainage infrastructure has dramatically improved since our last major weather event in 2011 so the infrastructure for the city of Mission is good.”
Nevertheless Cardoza said he was continuing to monitor the storm.
“So we’re just actively monitoring through the Office of Emergency Management as well as the city manager’s office. But is it a good prep for the city of Mission, we always say, ‘keep that going;’ it’s hurricane season, keep your go kits ready, have your emergency kit and medications ready. That’s the message we’re sending.”
Thursday afternoon Mission’s Media Relations Office announced the city would be providing free sandbags to residents starting at 8 a.m. Friday at Ray Landry Fireman’s Park, 906 Canal Street, Bannworth Park, 1822 N. Shary Rd., and Jaycee Park, 1020 N. Los Ebanos Rd. Residents must provide proof of Mission residency through a water bill or a driver’s license. The bag limit is 6 bags for each household and 10 bags for each business. The Progress Times has its Hurricane Preparedness Guide posted online at www.progresstimes.net