The National Hurricane Center's forecast Thursday evening for Hurricane Harvey calls for the storm to strike Texas and then move east toward Louisiana.
In its 10 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday advisories, the NHC track showed Harvey making its first landfall around Corpus Christi late Friday or early Saturday as a major hurricane.
Likely to be a Category 3 storm as it hits Texas, Harvey could drop 3 feet of rain there, blast 125 mph winds and push 12-foot storm surges in what could be the fiercest hurricane to hit the United States in almost a dozen years.
Once on shore in Texas, Harvey is expected to meander in and around Corpus Christi until Monday, then start to move toward Louisiana, possibly sliding back into the Gulf of Mexico and restrengthening. By Tuesday evening the storm is forecast to be approaching the Texas-Louisiana border.
"At this time it is too early to say whether the center will definitely re-emerge over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico," the NHC said in its forecast discussion Friday morning.
The NHC on Thursday labeled Harvey a "life-threatening storm" that posed a "grave risk."
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In southeast Louisiana, forecasters are predicting 4-10 inches of rain in the next several days, though those estimates will change if Harvey chugs closer to Louisiana.
Harvey's potential impacts in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas revolve around several key questions:
-- Does the storm, in fact, follow the NHC's forecast track and move toward Louisiana after striking Texas?
-- How long does the storm stay over Texas? The longer is stays over land, the more it'll weaken.
-- If the storm moves east toward Louisiana, does it move over water, allowing it to strengthen?
-- If it does move back over water, how long does it do so, how favorable are conditions for re-strengthening and how strong might it become?
-- And, of course, if the storm hits Louisiana, what will be its path and at what speed will it move?
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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