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Harvey could dump heavy rain in Texas

Due to the forecast slower speeds of Harvey the amounts of rainfall has increased. (Courtesy NWS)

UPDATE 8:56PM: Former Tropical Storm Harvey crawled toward the Texas Gulf Coast late Wednesday amid forecasts it could become a hurricane by landfall later this week, dumping heavy rain and raising the threat of flooding.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the tropical depression was expected to intensify over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico before reaching the Texas coast Friday. Emergency officials geared up as forecasters predicted heavy rains in parts of eastern Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott 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 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. As of Wednesday afternoon, the campus of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi was the only area under a mandatory evacuation order.

On South Padre Island, people filled sandbags and loaded them into cars and vans 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.

Rainfall totals of 10 to 15 inches (250-380 millimeters) were possible over the middle and upper Texas coast and southwest Louisiana through Tuesday, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

At 7 p.m. CDT Wednesday, Harvey was centered about 460 miles (740 kms) southeast of Port Mansfield, Texas. It was moving northwest at about 2 mph (4 kph) and had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph). The hurricane center said Harvey could regain tropical storm status in coming hours on its erratic crawl over the Gulf.

A hurricane watch was issued for the coast from Port Mansfield at the south to San Luis Pass, at the western end of Galveston Island, at the north. A storm surge watch was in effect for Port Mansfield to High Island, just up the coast from Galveston.

A tropical storm watch was in effect for Boca de Catan, Mexico, just south of the Texas border, to Port Mansfield and from San Luis Pass to High Island.

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UPDATE 8pm: An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft has found former tropical storm Harvey hasn't gained new strength in recent hours as it crawls across the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Wednesday that Harvey could regain tropical storm status in coming hours and become a hurricane Friday as it threatens to bring heavy rains to parts of Texas and southwestern Louisiana later in the week.

Harvey was centered at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday about 460 miles (740 kilometers) southeast of Port Mansfield, Texas, while moving to the northwest at 2 mph (4 kph), the center said. The storm has top sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph).

Forecasters warn that Harvey is expected to produce rainfall totaling 10 to 15 inches (250-380 millimeters) and possibly up to 20 inches (500 millimeters) in isolated areas of middle and upper Texas and southwest Louisiana. It adds Harvey could cause life-threatening flooding and a dangerous storm surge along the coast.

A hurricane watch is in effect from Port Mansfield to San Luis Pass and a tropical storm watch is in effect from Boca de Catan in Mexico to Port Mansfield — as well as north of San Luis Pass to High Island, Texas.

CLICK HERE to track Harvey...

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3:15 p.m.

Former Tropical Storm Harvey has restrengthened into a tropical depression forecast to dump heavy rains on the Gulf Coast and become a hurricane by the time it hits Texas on Friday. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Wednesday that Harvey is likely to intensify as it moves over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and deliver heavy rain to parts of eastern Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches are expected over the middle and upper Texas coast and southwest Louisiana through next Tuesday. The center has announced a hurricane watch for the Texas coast from north of San Luis Pass to High Island, and warns of possibly dangerous flooding.

At 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Harvey was located 470 miles (755 kms) southeast of Port Mansfield, Texas. It was moving northwest at about 9 mph (15 kph) and had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph).

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