Corpus Christi takes beating from Hurricane Harvey

Officials assess damage at city closest to center of storm

A sign on a business reads, 'Closed for Harvey', in Corpus Christi, Texas. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A sign on a business reads, 'Closed for Harvey', in Corpus Christi, Texas. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Hurricane Harvey's destructive winds caused damage Saturday in downtown Corpus Christi.

The city was the closest to the center of the Category 4 storm slamming the Texas Gulf Coast. The eye of the storm made landfall about 10 p.m. some 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi.

In terms of economic impact, Harvey will probably be on par with Hurricane Katrina, said University of Miami senior hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

"The Houston area and Corpus Christi are going to be a mess for a long time," McNoldy said. 

Authorities issued a mandatory water boil for all drinking water in Corpus Christi early Saturday morning. 

Voluntary evacuations were urged for Corpus Christi and for the Bolivar Peninsula, a sand spit near Galveston where many homes were washed away by the storm surge of Hurricane Ike in 2008.

During evacuations, steady traffic filled the highways leaving Corpus Christi, but there were no apparent jams. In the city of 325,000 residents, a traffic light post was toppled but still lit, its wires unearthed. A trash can lid skipped across a parking lot behind hotels on the seawall. 

At a convenience store in Houston’s Meyerland neighborhood, at least 12 cars lined up for fuel. Brent Borgstedte said this was the fourth gas station he had visited to try to fill up his son’s car. The 55-year-old insurance agent shrugged off Harvey’s risks.

"I don’t think anybody is really that worried about it. I’ve lived here my whole life," Borgstedte said. "I’ve been through several hurricanes."

The community northeast of Corpus Christi was a ghost town Friday, with every business boarded up. Some left messages for Harvey. But at a bayside RV park that looked vulnerable, John Bellah drove up in his pickup to have a look at an RV he had been told was for sale. He and his wife planned to ride out Harvey.

"This is just going to blow through," said Bellah, 72, who said he had been through Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Carla in 1961. He described those storms as "much worse."


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