Red Cross Partners and Friends:
While we were sleeping overnight, a significant, prolonged and potentially life-threatening storm in the Gulf of Mexico continues to organize and strengthen. Tropical Depression Harvey has strengthened into a Tropical Storm and is expected to become a strong Category 1 Hurricane with sustained winds of 85 mph with higher gusts but possibly a Category 2 Hurricane with winds of 111 mph by the time it makes landfall somewhere near Corpus Christi or Port Aransas, Texas late Friday night or early Saturday morning. Hurricane Warnings have been issued for Matagorda County and points southward along the Texas Gulf Coast and Tropical Storm Warnings for areas to the north including the Greater Houston and Galveston areas. Storm Surge Warnings have also been issued for the entire Texas Gulf Coast. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared a State of Emergency in 30 Texas counties.
Most concerning is that Harvey continues to be forecast to stall once it makes landfall. Therefore, the entire Texas Gulf Coast, western Louisiana, and points inland including San Antonio, Austin and the Hill Country in Texas could experience a 4-day rainfall event. Widespread rainfall totals of 12” are likely and some areas could experience 20”+.
The center of Tropical Storm Harvey remains in the Gulf of Mexico and is moving north-northwest near 10mph. A track toward the northwest at a faster speed is anticipated over the next 48 hours with Harvey expected to approach the Texas coast on Friday. Harvey is likely to become a Category 2 hurricane and is forecast to produce total rain accumulations of 10-15 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches over the Texas coast through next Wednesday. In the days following landfall, heavy rain, flooding and strong winds are expected across parts of Texas and Louisiana.
Today is the day to make final preparations for the storm! The American Red Cross cares deeply about helping everyone be prepared and safe. Please take Harvey seriously! Please have essential emergency items on hand and closely monitor the ever-changing forecast. Since Tuesday afternoon, the American Red Cross has been pre-staging and deploying materials, supplies, Emergency Response Vehicles, staff and volunteers throughout Texas and Louisiana. Please utilize the attached Hurricane Checklist, Power Outage Checklist, Flood Safety Checklist, and the Red Cross Mobile Apps for your preparations and safety.
Of course we want everyone to be safe as the top priority. If Harvey materializes into the life-threatening storm it appears to be becoming, the American Red Cross will need your support. I will likely be contacting you in the days ahead requesting financial support. Please consider how your company can help people affected by disasters like storms and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
This is a very serious situation. Please share this information with your family, friends, and co-workers.
Mark Baker | Senior Corporate Major Gifts Officer