WASHINGTON (AP) — In a story Aug. 29 about rainfall forecasts for Harvey, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the National Hurricane Center on Saturday Aug. 26 temporarily reduced its expected rainfall total figures. The hurricane center didn’t lower its estimate of 15 to 30 inches of rain. It said an additional 15 to 25 rain could fall on what had already fallen.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Meteorologists gave early warning of Harvey’s killer floods
About 30 hours before the first rain drop fell over Texas, meteorologists were sounding the alarm about Harvey’s catastrophic flooding
By SETH BORENSTEIN
AP Science Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Although some officials may say that Hurricane Harvey was worse than expected, the National Hurricane Center was warning about catastrophic flooding about 30 hours before the first rain drops fell.
“This is probably the best forecast slow moving disaster flood event,” said meteorologist Ryan Maue with the private WeatherBell Analytics. “I don’t know how we could have done any better.”
Here’s a timeline of warnings from the National Hurricane Center: — The first notice was a bulletin issued by the National Hurricane Center at 10 a.m. CDT Wednesday, Aug. 23, posting hurricane and storm watches for the Texas coast. That alert stated “Rainfall from Harvey could cause life-threatening flooding,” forecasting 10 to 15 inches of rain with isolated amounts of 20 inches “over the middle and upper Texas coast and southwest Louisiana through next Tuesday.”
— Harvey is upgraded from a tropical depression to a tropical storm at 11 p.m. CDT Wednesday.
—The hurricane center increased the maximum rainfall it mentioned to 25 inches its 4 a.m. CDT Thursday advisory.
— At 10 am CDT Thursday, the hurricane center forecast that Harvey would be a major hurricane with 115 mph winds when it approaches the middle Texas coast, warning in capital letters: “LIFE-THREATENING STORM SURGE AND FRESHWATER FLOODING EXPECTED.” The rainfall forecast was increased to 12 to 20 inches of rain with isolated spots getting 30 inches through Wednesday.
—At noon CDT Thursday, Harvey was upgraded to a hurricane.
—At 1 p.m. CDT Thursday, the hurricane center’s advisories became more urgent and pleading: “HARVEY RAPIDLY INTENSIFYING. PREPARATIONS ALONG THE MIDDLE TEXAS COAST SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION TODAY.” The center forecast said Harvey would reach winds of 125 mph.
—At 4 p.m. CDT Thursday, the hurricane center started warning of “life-threatening and devastating flooding.” The rainfall forecast was increased to 15 to 25 inches with some spots hitting 35 inches.
—At 7 a.m. CDT Friday, the hurricane center’s advisory told people to rush their preparations to complete them by the morning as conditions would deteriorate through the day.
—At 10 a.m. CDT Friday, Harvey’s outer rain bands started swiping the coast and the hurricane center started warning of “catastrophic flooding expected across portions of southern and southeastern Texas.”
—Tropical storm force winds reached Corpus Christi by noon CDT Friday.
— At 1 p.m. CDT Friday, the hurricane center warned that water levels were rising along the Texas coast.
—Harvey became a major hurricane, a category 3 storm with 120 mph winds, at 2 pm CDT Friday.
— The hurricane center upped its rainfall predictions to 15 to 30 inches with isolated spots hitting 40 inches in its 4 p.m. CDT update, repeatedly warning of “catastrophic flooding.”
—Harvey intensified to a Category 4 hurricane at 6 p.m. CDT Friday, with 130 mph winds. And the first hurricane-force winds were reaching land.
— Harvey made landfall at 10 p.m. CDT Friday as a Category 4 storm with winds of 130 mph, coming ashore between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas. Again, the hurricane center reminded people that “catastrophic flooding” was expected.
—All day Saturday, the hurricane center repeated warnings about catastrophic flooding and forecasting rain hitting 40 inches in spots. At 4 p.m. CDT, the center warned that an additional 15 to 25 inches could fall on what had already fallen.
—The Hurricane Center increased its upper forecast for rain at 10 a.m. CDT Sunday, saying that some spots around Houston and Galveston could hit around 50 inches.