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Gov. Abbott says Hurricane Harvey will ‘almost certainly’ lead to ‘loss of life’

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Friday asked President Trump to declare a major disaster in Texas due to Hurricane Harvey, warning in dire terms of how the strengthening storm could impact the state.

In a letter, Abbott outlined just how seriously the storm could batter Texas, saying that authorities expect it to cause widespread property damage and “almost certainly” deaths.

“The storm surge, coupled with the deluge of rain, could easily lead to billions of dollars of property damage and almost certainly loss of life,” Abbott wrote.

Abbott said the storm’s “rapid intensification” as well as the breadth of Texas expected to be pummeled by damaging wind and rain will “rapidly overwhelm the state’s ability to provide response and recovery assets to save Texans and protect property and critical infrastructure.”

In short, he said, the storm “is of such magnitude and severity that effective response is beyond state and local capability,” and federal aid is needed to help save lives as well as property.

On Friday, the U.S. senators representing Texas — Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, both Republicans — wrote a letter to Trump urging him to grant Abbott’s request.

Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, said during a White House briefing Friday that the declaration is “being contemplated.”

Hurricane Harvey updates: Texas hit by powerful storm, heavy rain

Hurricane Harvey is on track to be the strongest storm to strike the United States in 12 years. It’s forecast to make landfall on the Texas coast late Friday or early Saturday. Follow along for updates on preparations, evacuations and forecasts.

Visit the Capital Weather Gang for more on the storm.

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