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From space, ‘astounding’ Hurricane Harvey looks like it’s about to swallow all of Texas

The extremely dangerous storm is predicted to bring days of rain to southeast Texas starting on Aug. 25. (Video: NASA/YouTube)

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!”

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.”

Early Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center noted that the “dangerous” storm was strengthening and urged: “Preparations along the Texas coast should be rushed to completion.”

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.

Texas in direct path of suddenly intensifying, ‘astounding’ Hurricane Harvey

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.

A NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft passed through Hurricane Harvey’s eye on Aug. 24, as the storm rapidly intensified on its way to the Texas coast. (Video: Lt Kevin Doremus/NOAA)

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.

Joel Achenbach, Steven Mufson and Jason Samenow contributed to this report, which has been updated.

Harvey drops nearly two feet of rain on Houston, causing catastrophic flooding

Two kayakers try to beat the current pushing them down an overflowing Brays Bayou along S. Braeswood in Houston, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. Rescuers answered hundreds of calls for help Sunday as floodwaters from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey climbed high enough to begin filling second-story homes, and authorities urged stranded families to seek refuge on their rooftops. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Read more:

How to prepare for Hurricane Harvey — whether you evacuate or not

Hurricane Harvey’s flood threat sparks memories of Tropical Storm Allison in Southeast Texas

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