MIAMI — Harvey regained tropical storm strength as it drifted in the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas early Thursday and forecasters said it could become a hurricane.
A hurricane warning was issued for the Texas coast Thursday morning, covering an area from Port Mansfield to Matagorda.
The storm's maximum sustained winds had increased to near 60 mph. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said additional strengthening was expected and Harvey could become a hurricane by Friday, when it's expected to approach the southern Texas coast.
As of 8 a.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 335 miles southeast of Port Mansfield and was moving north-northwest near 10 mph.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the State Operations Center to elevate its readiness level, making state resources available for possible rescue and recovery actions. Abbott also pre-emptively declared a state of disaster for 30 counties on or near the coast to speed deployment of state resources to any areas affected.
Emergency officials Wednesday asked residents along the upper Texas coastline to move or prepare to move inland. Those in low-lying areas were urged to seek higher ground, and those elsewhere were told to monitor official announcements closely.
On South Padre Island, people filled sandbags and loaded them into cars and vans Wednesday to take to protect exposed homes and businesses. Others in the forecast path of the storm sought out generators, plywood and other goods from hardware stores. Meanwhile, rice farmers in coastal Matagorda County moved quickly to harvest their crops.
- Houston's businesses inching back to work as waters recede
- Donations for Harvey victims keep pouring in
- New Orleans' Katrina challenges may hold lessons for Houston
- Harvey began with raging winds, but its legacy will be water
- House heads toward passage of Harvey aid bill, debt hike
- Poll finds many Harvey victims saying they still need help
- Hurricane Harvey’s toxic impact deeper than public told
- Immigrant hurricane victims turn to churches amid fear
- In Harvey-hit county, some in GOP newly confront the climate
- As floodwaters recede, Houston officials look to recovery
- Most Harvey flood victims uninsured, face big bills alone
- Pair of 70-year-old dams protecting Houston overflow as a result of Harvey
- Amid Harvey floods, Houston chief worries 'how many bodies?'
- Trump's turn to face tricky politics of natural disasters
- Western Louisiana in crosshairs as Harvey moves back to land
- Houston-area floodwaters recede but dangers still loom
- Harvey tests political opposites in Texas' Abbott, Turner
- Forecast brings hope as new shelters open, death toll rises
- Posts, tweets spread widely as the Harvey missing are sought