Dreary weekend ahead in South Florida as Harvey reaches Cat 3 strength near Texas

National Hurricane Center

A tropical wave that lingered over the state for much of the week will likely depart over the weekend but not before delivering a dreary, soggy weekend.

The system, now located near Lake Okeechobee, is expected to continue rolling to the northeast and emerge over the Atlantic near Central Florida. A flood watch will remain in effect for South Florida until 8 a.m. Saturday, with heavy rain and thunderstorms possible. Rain on the Gulf Coast is expected to be higher, with National Weather Service meteorologists warning four to six inches are possible from Naples to Fort Myers and inland.

0825 radar
Friday afternoon, a tropical wave that soaked South Florida for much of the week was located southwest of Lake Okechobee and expected to head to the northeast and leave the state this weekend near Central Florida. National Hurricane Center

There’s a chance the wave could regain strength as it heads up the coast, National Hurricane Center forecasters said. Friday afternoon, they upped the odds of a cyclone to 50 percent over the next five days.

0825 rain map
National Weather Service

Across the Gulf, forecasters called for “catastrophic” flooding in Texas as Hurricane Harvey neared as a Cat 3 storm. Sea levels near Corpus Christi had already started rising one to two feet Friday afternoon. In their afternoon advisory, forecasters said sustained winds had increased to 120 mph, with the storm expected to dump astonishingly high amounts of rain. Projections ranged from ranged 5 inches to 25 inches up and down the coast, with up to 35 inches forecast for some locations.

Storm surge is expected to sweep across the state’s barrier islands, with up to 12 feet forecast for parts of Padre Island and eight feet on Galveston Island.

Over the next 36 to 48 hours, forecasters said the hurricane will likely stall, worsening flooding risks. In four to five days, it could begin heading east again, returning to the Gulf of Mexico, steered by a mid-level trough in the midwest. But a good deal of uncertainty over that track remains, they said.

This video of Harvey includes views from The International Space Station recorded on Thursday, August 24, 2017 at 6:15 p.m. Eastern Time. Harvey was officially upgraded to a Category 2 storm early Friday morning, according to the National Weather

Follow Jenny Staletovich on Twitter @jenstaletovich

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