Hurricane Harvey: US official warns of 'disaster', urges evacuation

2017-08-25 16:56

Washington - The head of the US office for disaster preparedness urged residents of Texas on Friday to get out of the path of Hurricane Harvey, warning of an impending "disaster" from the powerful storm.

"Texas is about to have a very significant disaster," said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, speaking to CNN.

He said he is most concerned that residents might not have heeded warnings from local officials to evacuate their homes ahead of the arrival of Harvey, which is due to make landfall in Texas and Louisiana overnight on Friday into Saturday.

"If they have not, their window to evacuate is rapidly coming to a close," Long said, adding that the greatest danger from the storm will come from flooding.

"Storm surge has the highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most of damage. On top of that, we are looking at a significant inland flood event over many counties, which is going to be a sizable event," he said.

He made his comments as millions along the US Gulf Coast braced for the arrival of Harvey, a category two hurricane with winds of up to 165 kilometers per hour.

The storm was due to become even more powerful before it makes landfall, weather officials said, as Harvey roared toward an area of enormous economic significance in the United States - the center of the energy industry that processes some seven million barrels of oil a day.

A road sign warns travellers of the the approaching Hurricane Harvey, which is aiming for the Texas coast. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)

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