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Harvey Wallops Texas; State Parks Offer Refuge

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August 26, 2017 by   Leave a Comment

Hurricane Harvey settled over southeast Texas early Saturday, lashing the state’s Gulf Coast with damaging winds and dumping torrents of rain over hundreds of miles of coastline that braced for what forecasters predicted would be life-threatening storm surges — basically walls of water moving inland.

The Associated Press reported that the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade made landfall Friday night about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph (209 kph) winds. It gradually weakened over the next several hours and the National Hurricane Center said that by 5 a.m. Saturday Harvey was downgraded to a Category 1 — still sustaining winds of 90 mph (144 kph). It had already dumped more than 9 inches (228.6 millimeters) of rain in the South Texas city of Victoria and had knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers.

Harvey’s approach sent tens of thousands of residents fleeing inland, hoping to escape the wrath of a menacing storm that threatens not only the coast but a wide swath of Texas that is home to oil refineries, chemical plants and dangerously flood-prone Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city.

Gov. Mandates State Parks Free for Evacuees

On Friday afternoon Gov. Greg Abbott announced that all state parks will be available to evacuees free of charge.

The Houston Press reported that the state parks will be an option for people fleeing the storm, whether they are coming from counties that have officially issued evacuation orders or not, Abbott stated. (Aside from the coastal parks that are, of course, closed due to the storm.

“Even if an evacuation order hasn’t been issued by your local official, if you’re in an area between Corpus Christi and Houston you need to strongly consider evacuating,” Abbott stated during a press conference held this afternoon.

However, anyone taking Abbott up on this option (which is a pretty decent idea since with thousands of people potentially on the road to get out of the Category 3 storm’s path lodging could definitely become an issue) had better make sure any campgrounds they are heading for are actually state owned. While Abbott is opening up the state parks, the National Forest Service is closing the national forests.

In addition, the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) says it has identified 12 campgrounds and RV parks with space for Hurricane Harvey evacuees. 

Vacation rental company Airbnb says it has started connecting evacuees and relief workers with short-term lodging with its hosts free of charge as part of its Disaster Response Program through its website.

 

 

 

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