According to the latest warning from the National Hurricane Service (NHS), Harvey looks to be the first hurricane to strike the Texas coast since 2008. According to NHS models, the storm is expected to gain hurricane-force winds by tomorrow afternoon and make landfall in Texas at 1AM on Saturday. Of course, heavy flooding and storm surge warnings have been issued for most of the Texas coast.
Per Bloomberg, Harvey is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane.
“It could intensify right up to landfall on Friday,” said Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “I expect a Category 1 hurricane at landfall, but I cannot rule out a Category 2.”
Harvey is expected to bring multiple hazards including heavy rainfall, storm surge and possible hurricane conditions to parts of the Texas coast on Friday. Heavy rainfall is expected to spread across portions of south, central and eastern Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley from Friday through early next week and could cause life-threatening flooding, according to the advisory.
Nearly the entire Texas coastline from Corpus Christi to Galveston are projected to be hit by hurricane force winds.
Meanwhile the rainfall forecast is calling for up to 20 inches of rain for those cities at the center of the storm.
In terms of economic impacts, nearly one-third of America's refining capacity currently sits in the path of the storm and large E&P companies have already started to evacuate staff from offshore rigs which will reduce oil imports to the Texas coast.
The Gulf Coast from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Lake Charles, Louisiana, is home to nearly 30 refineries -- making up about 7 million barrels a day of refining capacity, or one-third of the U.S. total. It’s in the path of expected heavy rainfall. Flooding poses risks to operations and may cause power failures.
"Biggest impact of this storm will be a significant reduction of crude oil imports into the Texas Gulf Coast, resulting in refineries cutting crude rates,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston, said by email. “There will also be a significant impact on petroleum product exports impacting supplies into Mexico.”
Exxon Mobil Corp. had said it’s cutting output at its Hoover production platform in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of the storm. The company’s also working on plans to evacuate staff in stages from offshore facilities that will be in the path of the storm, Suann Guthrie, a spokeswoman, said by email. Royal Dutch Shell Plc shut production at its Perdido platform and evacuated the facility.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said earlier this week it’s removing nonessential staff from some production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico in response to weather conditions. Cheniere Energy Inc. “activated” the severe weather team at its Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana, Eben Burnham-Snyder, a spokesman, said by email. “At this time no production impacts expected.”
Meanwhile, cotton prices have also rallied on speculation the storm will threaten U.S. crops.
American Airlines has already started allowing people traveling through Houston and nine other cities on certain dates to re-book their flights without a fee because of the storm. United Continental is offering the same in eight cities, while Delta is offering a similar waiver for Houston flights.
Meanwhile, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance has the largest share in the market for home coverage in Texas, followed by Allstate Corp., Farmers Insurance and United Services Automobile Association, according to data compiled by A.M. Best Co.