Hurricane Harvey gains strength, upgraded to Category 4 as it nears landfall

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UPDATE: Hurricane Harvey has been upgraded to a Category 4.

Hurricane Harvey strengthened to a Category 3 storm, with sustained winds of up to 120 miles per hour on Friday afternoon.

The storm is expected to make landfall in Corpus Christi, Texas, late Friday into Saturday morning, bringing high winds and record-setting floods to southern Texas

The outer bands of Harvey have already started swiping the Texas coast as 35 inches of rain and “catastrophic” storm-surge flooding are expected.

The combination of heavy rain, “life-threatening” storm surges, flooding and strong winds could leave wide swaths of South Texas “uninhabitable for weeks or months,” the National Weather Service in Houston said. Such daunting language hasn’t been seen by CNN’s experts since Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.

A hurricane warning is in effect for about 1.5 million people, with another 16 million under a tropical storm warning, the weather service said.

“Texas is about to have a very significant disaster,” said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned of record-setting flooding and called on people to flee the area before the storm hits.

“My top goal is to be able to make it through this storm in a way in which we lose no lives,” Abbott said. “Put your life first and your property second.”

President Trump might issue a major disaster declaration before Hurricane Harvey makes landfall., the White House homeland security adviser said Friday.

Trump is also planning to travel to Texas next week in the wake of the hurricane, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

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