Hurricane Harvey kept getting stronger Friday as it approached the gulf coast of Texas.
Forecasters say Harvey is packing sustained winds of 130 mph with stronger gusts. It's now a Category 4 storm and is the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. since Katrina lashed Louisiana in 2005, federal officials say.
Warnings related to Hurricane Harvey extend from southern Texas to eastern Louisiana and the storms are expected to last through the middle of next week, the National Hurricane Center says.
The Hurricane Center says catastrophic and life-threatening flooding is expected on the Texas coast. Harvey is likely to bring 15 to 30 inches of rain and by Wednesday some areas may have 40 inches, the forecasters say. Storm surges are expected to push the water six to 12 feet above ground level.
It's not just a coastal thing, either. FEMA says the effects will reach hundreds of miles inland. The governors of Texas and Louisiana have already declared emergencies.
Coastal cities urged residents to evacuate before the hurricane's arrival early Saturday. Many, but not all residents did so.
ABC News reports the mayor of Rockport, Texas, asked those who were staying behind to write their names and Social Security numbers on their arms so they could be identified if they died. "We hate to talk about things like that," Patrick Rios said. "It's not something we like to do but it’s the reality...."
With a metro area population of 5 million, Houston is the biggest city in the hurricane's path. CNN notes it was only a few months ago when Houston was socked with $5 billion worth of damage from flooding that also killed eight people.
While the governor of Texas advised people to consider evacuating, the New York Times reports Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told residents to “Please think twice before trying to leave Houston en masse.”
You can find the latest updates from the National Hurricane Center here.