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Harvey Upgraded to Hurricane, Expected to Strengthen to Category 3

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Tropical Storm Harvey has continued its rapid strengthening this morning and has been upgraded to a hurricane by the National Hurricane Center as of noon today. The storm now contains sustained 85 mph winds and is forecast to become a Category 3 hurricane by 7 a.m. Friday, with landfall forecast along the Texas Coast this weekend.

1 p.m. CDT Update From the National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Harvey

Photo: NHC

Hurricanes are rated by the Saffir-Simpson Scale, which measures intensities of sustained wind speed to give the strength of the hurricane. Damage can be estimated from the wind speeds and are outlined below from the National Hurricane Center.

Category One: 33–42 m/s, 64–82 knots, 74–95 mph, 119–153 km/h
Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.

Category Two: 43–49 m/s, 83–95 knots, 96–110 mph, 154–177 km/h
Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.

Category Three (Major): 50–58 m/s, 96–112 knots, 111–129 mph, 178–208 km/h
Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.

Category Four (Major): 58–70 m/s, 113–136 knots, 130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h
Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

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