Outside of the CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, Aug. 25, 2017, as Hurricane Harvey moves towards the Texas coast. (Photo: Courtney Sacco/Caller-Times via USA TODAY NETWORK)

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Hurricane Harvey is currently moving slowly in a northwesterly direction, positioned east of San Antonio over Gonzales and DeWitt counties.

It made landfall near Rockport, Texas, around 10 p.m. on Friday with winds up to 130 miles per hour. AEP Texas said approximately 213,000 Texans are without power.

The Category 4 storm is the most powerful hurricane to hit mainland United States in a decade.

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Brig. Gen. Patrick M. Hamilton, Commander of Domestic Operations Task Force, said that at the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott more than 1,300 members of the Texas Military Department’s Army National Guard, Air National Guard and Texas State Guard have been activated.

Hamilton said they are working with first responders to assist communities throughout the Texas Gulf Coast. More than 2,000 Guardsmen are expected to respond within the next 24-48 hours. Additional personnel continue to remain on standby to respond to impacted areas as needed.

“This is what we train for,” Hamilton said. “And we’re proud to stand beside our civilian partners, first responders and volunteers to serve the citizens of Texas.”

Port of Corpus Christi

Port of Corpus Christi Executive Director John LaRue says port personnel are assessing hurricane impacts and the initial assessments indicate light to moderate damage and debris.

Tropical weather conditions still exist so damage assessments are being completed as safe to do so, LaRue said. The Port’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Security Command Center and Harbor Master’s Office continues to maintain uninterrupted operations and are not damaged.

LaRue said the Port of Corpus Christi EOC is in communication with various state and federal agencies, local officials and emergency services organizations in the region to assess needs and/or damage. He said the Port Police and security teams have reestablished all primary security access control points and are on patrol at all inner harbor facilities. The Port Police Marine Patrol continue to assist emergency operations in the Port Aransas area and the Harbor Master’s Office is continuing to support coordination efforts for possible obstructions in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel in cooperation with the US Coast Guard. A USCG maintains representation in the Port EOC to assist with coordination efforts.

LaRue said is also monitoring all impacts from Hurricane Harvey in and around the Corpus Christi Ship Channel and La Quinta Ship Channel. The Port is prepared for post storm recovery, he said, with all Port users continuing to adhere to the requirements and recommendations set forth by the most current USCG Marine Safety Information Bulletin.

“We are completing our initial assessments and are working with the Army Corps of Engineers to start a channel survey as early as tomorrow. The safety of our personnel remains our first priority.  The worst storm conditions have passed.  We expect a successful recovery effort through our continued coordination with our local, state, federal and industry partners,” LaRue said.

The safety of all port personnel and stakeholders is paramount for the Port of Corpus Christi Authority, LaRue added.

Message from Congressman Vela

Congressman Filemon Vela announced resources are available for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Vela, whose district includes counties hit hard by Harvey, said:

“Yesterday, several of my colleagues in the Texas Delegation, Governor Abbott, and I sent letters to President Trump requesting he declare a major disaster for the State of Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Last night, President Trump issued a State of Disaster Declaration for the State of Texas, triggering the release of federal funds to help victims recover from Hurricane Harvey in the following counties: Bee, Goliad, Kleberg, Nueces, Refugio, and San Patricio.

“Today I was briefed by FEMA Administrator Brock Long, National Weather Service Deputy Regional Director Mike Coyne, Texas Department of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Vice Admiral Karl Schultz, and American Red Cross Executive Director of Recovery Operations Harvey Johnson on an update on Hurricane Harvey’s impact thus far, as well as its potential impact throughout Texas and Louisiana.

“If you are a resident of Bee, Goliad, Kleberg, Nueces, Refugio, or San Patricio County and your home has sustained damage from Hurricane Harvey, I urge you to seek a safe shelter first, and then apply for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The American Red Cross has opened 35 shelters and expects to open an additional 40 tomorrow. Download the FEMA mobile app to set up alerts for the latest weather updates, shelter information, disaster resources, preparedness information, and safety tips, in English and in Spanish.  The app provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service.  The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.

“To apply for assistance visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov. You may also call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. If you have flood insurance, you will need to reach out to your local insurance agents, or call 1-800-621-3362 and select option 2.

“Those who would like to assist victims of Hurricane Harvey may do so by donating or volunteering with the American Red Cross, or other organizations assisting with the situation. To donate or volunteer through the American Red Cross, visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

“My office continues to work with federal, state, and local officials to provide resources for those in need.  For any additional information, please contact my office at [email protected].”

Assessing the Damage

Many residents in the Rio Grande Valley have family in the Coastal Bend and, like the rest of the country, have been saying prayers for those in the path of the hurricane.

Some Valley residents say they were lucky to have dodged a bullet. Cameron County has re-opened beach access points on South Padre Island and the Port of Brownsville has re-opened its ship channel.

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports that San Patricio County is under a mandatory water boil notice.

On Saturday aternoon, AEP Texas crews began assessing the extent of damage inflicted on the company’s electric system by Hurricane Harvey. Crews also began restoration activities in the Corpus Christi area.

“We anticipate issuing a preliminary Estimated Event Restoration Time (ETR) on Sunday, which will project the completion date for restoration of service to 95 percent of those who lost power at the storm’s peak,” said Tom Coad, AEP Texas vice president of Distribution Region Operations. “Our primary objective is to restore electric service to all customers as safely and quickly as possible and to provide timely and accurate updated information to customers affected by service interruptions,” Coad emphasized.

As of 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, approximately 210,000 customers in Corpus Christi and surrounding areas did not have electric service.

Here is a breakdown of the areas with the largest numbers of outages as of 4:30 p.m.:

Aransas Pass – 47,000
Corpus Christi Southside Area – 40,000
Corpus Christi Midtown Area – 45,000
Victoria – 30,000
Port Lavaca – 14,000
El Campo – 11,000
Corpus Christi Northwest Area – 6,500
El Campo – 11,000
Sinton – 8,000

Warmth and Resilience

Gov. Greg Abbott has thanked President Trump for approving his request of a Presidential Disaster Declaration. This allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide Individual Assistance, Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation to Texas communities affected by Harvey.

“I want to thank the President and FEMA for their quick response in granting this disaster declaration. We will continue to work with our federal and local partners on all issues relating to this storm, and I encourage Texans to continue heeding all warnings from local officials,” Abbott said.

On Saturday afternoon, Abbott joined U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and Austin Mayor Steve Adler on a tour of a Red Cross hurricane shelter in Austin. There they served dinner to Texans taking refuge from Hurricane Harvey.

During the visit, Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott reassured storm victims that the State of Texas is doing everything possible to assist in the recovery effort and ensure resources are available to victims in the coming days and weeks.

“Although these Texans have suffered a great hardship, their warmth and resiliency is truly inspiring,” said Governor Abbott. “The true heart of Texas is its people, and through this very trying time, I have no doubt we will emerge stronger than ever. These amazing families are a much needed reminder of the Texas spirit as we battle this storm.”

Abbott will receive a briefing from the Texas Division of Emergency Management and give an update on Hurricane Harvey at the State Operations Center (SOC) in Austin late Sunday morning.