A brief-but-haunting video released by NASA on Thursday night shows Hurricane Harvey’s powerful churn toward Central Texas, where the slow-moving storm is expected to throttle coastal communities with high winds and up to 25 inches of rain.
The footage was captured just after 6 p.m. by cameras aboard the International Space Station, not long after the tropical cyclone — aided by warm water and favorable winds — regenerated over the Gulf of Mexico. An astronaut on board, Marine Corps Col. Randy Bresnik, later tweeted two photos of the storm with a message of solidarity for those in its path:
“God Bless Texas, may you weather the storm as you always have!”
Few weeks ago took pics of Typhoon Noru out in the ocean, feels a lot different when you see a hurricane, knowing your family is in its path pic.twitter.com/nyTel4Rwc1
— Randy Bresnik (@AstroKomrade) August 24, 2017
According to the National Hurricane Center, Harvey “is expected to be a major hurricane at landfall, bringing life-threatening storm surge, rainfall, and wind hazards to portions of the Texas coast.”
The National Hurricane Center has called Harvey’s sudden strengthening “astounding.”
Harvey is expected to make landfall late Friday near Corpus Christi, striking as a Category 3 hurricane with wind speeds surpassing 111 miles per hour.
Separate footage from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration includes striking views from one of its WP-3D Orion “hurricane hunter” aircraft as it flies through the storm’s eye.
A time-lapse video, recorded moments prior, shows the plane being jostled and pelted with rain before emerging in the storm’s relatively calm epicenter.
Harvey emerged as full-fledged hurricane only Thursday afternoon and already is predicted to be the most powerful storm to hit the United States since Hurricane Wilma battered south Florida 12 years ago.
As the Capital Weather Gang reported, Harvey could dump up to 25 inches of rain — some isolated areas could see 35 inches — and result in massive, deadly flooding.
A big concern, meteorologists say, is the likelihood this storm will stall for four or possibly six days.
Corpus Christi has many low-lying areas and a barrier island. It’s located in Nueces County, which is home to about 360,000 residents.
The surprise hurricane is poised to be the first major test of disaster response for the Trump administration, whose appointee to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency — William B. “Brock” Long — was confirmed in June.
If you have been asked by local officials to evacuate in TX, your window to do so is closing https://t.co/EWm3czdOsb
— Brock Long (@FEMA_Brock) August 25, 2017
Joel Achenbach, Steven Mufson and Jason Samenow contributed to this report, which has been updated.