Hurricane Harvey is expected to be one of the most powerful storms in more than a decade, and officials are calling on residents to stay safe and heed government warnings.
"I would like to set expectations, Texas is about to have a very significant disaster," said Federal Emergency Management Agency Director William "Brock" Long in an interview on Friday. "What concerns me the most right now is whether or not people have heeded the warning that local counties judges have put forward. If they have not, their window to evacuate is rapidly coming to a close."
Harvey is expected to hit the Texas coast as a category three storm, meaning it could have winds with speeds up to 129 miles per hour.
"Well-built framed houses may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends," according to the National Hurricane Center's website. "Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes."
The last major category three storm, Wilma, hit the U.S. in October, 2005. It was preceded by Katrina in August, which devastated a huge portion of the Gulf Coast.
Several areas along the Texas coastline are preparing for the pending devastation. FEMA is already on scene, according to Long.
"FEMA is already in the state of Texas, we have pre-positioned incident management teams, life-saving, life-sustaining commodities. We have search and rescue teams in the state and we are ready to go to support our state partners," said Long.
In addition to the devastating winds, Harvey is expected to "stall or meander for several days," according to Weather.com, meaning there is a serious threat for "catastrophic flooding" in the affected parts of Texas. Tornadoes may also pose a threat.
Harvey is projected to make landfall between late Friday night and early Saturday morning. It will then stall throughout the following week, possibly until Wednesday.