As of 6 p.m. Friday, Hurricane Harvey has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, making it a Category 4 storm. Once it makes landfall, Harvey will be the first major storm to hit the US since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
Landfall was predicted along the central Texas coast, between Port O'Connor and Matagorda Bay, late Friday or early Saturday. The stretch of coastline spans about 30 miles (48 kilometers) roughly 70 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi.
The storm has the potential to produce winds up to 125 mph (201 kph) and storm surges of 12 feet (4 meters), according to the National Hurricane Center.
Harvey grew quickly Thursday from a tropical depression into a Category 1 hurricane, and then Category 2 hurricane early Friday and Category 3 hurricane by Friday afternoon.
Superstorm Sandy, which pummeled New York and New Jersey in 2012, never had the high winds and had lost tropical status by the time it struck. But it was devastating without formally being called a major hurricane.
And once it comes ashore, the storm is expected to stall, dumping copious amounts of rain for days in areas like flood-prone Houston, the nation's fourth most-populous city, and San Antonio.
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Harvey would be the first significant hurricane to hit Texas since Ike in September 2008 brought winds of 110 mph (177 kph) to the Galveston and Houston areas, inflicting $22 billion in damage. It would be the first big storm along the middle Texas coast since Hurricane Claudette in 2003 caused $180 million in damage.
It's taking aim at the same vicinity as Hurricane Carla, the largest Texas hurricane on record. Carla came ashore in 1961 with wind gusts estimated at 175 mph and inflicted more than $300 million in damage. The storm killed 34 people and forced about 250,000 people to evacuate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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