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Governor Edwards today declared a state of emergency for Louisiana in anticipation of the havoc that a strengthening Hurricane Harvey could wreak upon the state.

What once was only forecast to be a Category 1 storm, Harvey is now expected to be a Category 3 by the time it reaches the coast of Texas sometime late Friday night, or early Saturday morning.  If that happens, Harvey will be the strongest hurricane to reach the shores of the U.S. since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

Harvey will be the first hurricane to make landfall in Texas since Ike hit Galveston in 2008.  Ike caused a total of 113 deaths in the U.S.--85 of them in Texas--and precipitated over $37.5 billion in damage.  To put that in perspective, Ike is the 3rd costliest hurricane in U.S. history, behind Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina.

The major concern from the storm is rain, especially in south Texas.  Torrential rainfall and significant storm surge are expected in that area as the storm is expected to stall in the area for days.  The possibility of epic flooding is possible with rainfall amounts of over 25 inches in the coastal parts of the state.

In an interview with the Louisiana Radio Network, Eric Blake with the National Hurricane Center said that if the storm moves back into the Gulf after initial landfall, which some models are predicting, then Louisiana could be dealing with the storm through Wednesday or Thursday of next week.  The heaviest rainfall amounts are expected in the southwest corner of the state.

As far as the Ark-La-Tex goes, forecasters are saying we'll get 2-4 inches of rain.  But if Harvey goes back out into the Gulf and comes ashore again nearer Louisiana, all bets are off.  Suffice it to say, keep your eyes and ears peeled to local forecasts.