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Hurricane could hit Texas for 1st time since 2008 as Harvey takes aim

Texans are filling sandbags, stocking up on water and boarding up windows ahead of Tropical Storm Harvey, a system that could develop into a hurricane by Friday.

The system, which weakened before reaching tropical storm status early Thursday, is expected to make landfall Friday evening as a Category 1 storm in Corpus Christi, Texas, then stall over the state, the National Hurricane Center reported.

“Harvey is likely to bring multiple hazards, including heavy rainfall, storm surge, and possible hurricane conditions to portions of the Texas coast beginning on Friday,” the weather service said.

Ten to 20 inches of rain could fall through next week from Texas’ Gulf Coast toward Houston and into San Antonio, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.

A hurricane watch is in effect from north of Port Mansfield to San Luis Pass, with a storm surge watch stretching north to High Island, on Galveston Bay.

Harvey would be the first hurricane to hit Texas since 2008, when Hurricane Ike smashed the coast near Galveston. The storm killed 21 people in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, and caused widespread destruction.

‘It scares the hell out of people’

As Harvey churned toward Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster Wednesday in 30 counties along the Gulf of Mexico. The governor’s action allows agencies to “quickly deploy resources for the emergency response.”

“Texans believe in taking action and always being prepared in the event of an emergency,” Abbott said. “That is why I am taking every precaution prior to … Harvey making landfall.”

Students and staff at the Texas A&M campus at Corpus Christi are under a mandatory evacuation order. The campus will be closed starting Thursday, according to the university’s website.

People around Corpus Christi started stocking up Wednesday on food, bottled water and other essentials.

“We know that if anything as far as flooding happens, that’s the one thing everyone runs to, we have to have water,” Mariah Barter told CNN affiliate KZTV. “It’s a big deal. It scares the hell out of people. It’s better to be prepared.”

Others in South Texas readied sandbags, fueled up power generators and bought plywood to board up their windows, CNN affiliate KRIS reported.