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Harvey to be first major U.S. hurricane since 2005

Staff Writer |
Tropical Storm Harvey has intensified into a hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday afternoon.

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The storm, which is expected to turn into a major Category 3 hurricane and has prompted warnings for the Texas coast, continues to pick up strength in the Gulf of Mexico - and is expected to make landfall in the Lone Star State Friday.

A Category 3 hurricane is rated as "major" on the NHC's scale. Harvey would be the first hurricane that severe to make landfall anywhere in the continental United States since Hurricane Wilma hit Florida in October 2005.

The NHC said in its 1 p.m. advisory that Harvey is moving north-northwest at 10 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. The center of the storm is about 340 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas.

"Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Harvey is expected to become a hurricane by Friday," the same day it reaches the Texas coast, the NHC said.

A hurricane warning is in effect from Port Mansfield to Matagorda along the Texas coast. A hurricane watch covers from Port Mansfield to the mouth of the Rio Grande.

If Harvey reaches Texas as a hurricane, it would be the state's first since 2008.

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