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Hurricane Harvey strengthens as it nears Texas coast

Hurricane Harvey became a Category 2 storm this morning as it gained strength and moved toward the coast of Texas.

The Weather Channel said Houston-area residents were preparing for the hurricane on Friday and some coastal cities were being given evacuation orders. The Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters have fueled Harvey.

NBC News said Harvey was expected to make landfall as a Category 3 storm just east of Corpus Christi about 1 a.m. local time on Saturday.

Harvey will become the country’s first Category 3 landfall in nearly 12 years when it strikes, The Weather Channel added, saying the storm was “poised to clobber the Texas Gulf Coast with devastating rainfall flooding, dangerous storm-surge flooding and destructive winds this weekend that could leave parts of the area uninhabitable for an extended period of time.”

"A lot of people are taking this storm for granted, thinking it may not pose much of a danger to them," NBC said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told its affiliate KPRC in Houston. "Please heed warnings and evacuate as soon as possible."

Fox News said local officials in Texas were urging people to get out now rather than try to ride out the storm, which could bring as much as three feet of rain, 125 mph winds and 12-foot storm surges.

"If it's 10 feet of water, there's a good chance you will lose electricity," Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb told Fox. "So you'll be on the Island with no [air conditioning], no water, no electricity. We recommend in the strongest terms that you need to get out now or get to higher ground."

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