Hurricane Harvey has strengthened to a Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.
Harvey is forecast to become a Category 3 hurricane with winds of at least 111 mph by the time it hits the middle Texas coast late Friday or early Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said, bringing life-threatening storm surge, rainfall, and wind hazards.
Some areas could get as many as 35 inches of rain from Harvey, forecasters from the hurricane center said. Storm-surge flooding could reach heights of as much as 12 feet above ground level on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Among the cities on the coast that could be impacted by the storm are Houston, Corpus Christi, Galveston, and Brownsville. An analysis from data analytics provider CoreLogic shows that more than 200,000 U.S. homes are at risk of Harvey storm surge damage in Texas, with an estimated $40 billion in total reconstruction cost value. CoreLogic also produces estimates on the total reconstruction costs that would be incurred if other major American cities are struck by hurricanes such as Harvey.
While a single storm like Harvey will never hit every vulnerable city along the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines, nearly 6.9 million homes, with a total reconstruction cost value of over $1.5 trillion, are at risk of damage from flooding caused by hurricanes and tropical storms. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of homes at risk and the estimated construction costs for at-risk U.S. metro areas from CoreLogic. The 15 cities vulnerable to the greatest damage are listed in order of the number of homes at risk of destruction from flooding due to storm surge.
Hurricane Harvey poses the biggest threat to this part of Texas since Hurricane Rita struck in September of 2005. That storm caused one of the biggest evacuations in U.S. history — about 3 million people fled in their cars, causing massive traffic jams and even several deaths. Rita’s total damage is estimated at $12.6 billion. Rita did not strike Houston directly, but if it had, this number would likely have been higher.
By some estimates, Harvey is projected to reach the mainland as a Category 3 storm. If it does, it will be the first Category 3 or stronger hurricane to make U.S. landfall since Hurricane Wilma struck south Florida in October 2005.
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