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It weakened once it made landfall, with winds decreasing to 90 miles per hour, and was downgraded to a Category 1 as of 5 a.m. Saturday and later in the afternoon, to a tropical storm. "We are anxious to get out there and make assessments, but we're hunkered down for now", he said.

Hurricanes nearly always lose strength quickly after making landfall and moving away from the warm waters that fuel their winds, Blake said.

Hurricane Harvey settled over southeast Texas early Saturday, where people along the state's Gulf Coast are bracing for flooding and storm surges over the coming days.

Harvey weakened to a tropical storm by early afternoon.

Harvey is the strongest hurricane to hit Texas since Hurricane Carla in 1961. The storm is expected to hover over parts of Texas and Louisiana for several days.

Organizations such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army are trained to respond to disasters such as Harvey, which is pounding the Texas Gulf Coast.

Harvey is the most powerful hurricane to hit the state of Texas in more than 50 years.

On Friday, President Trump signed a declaration of disaster for Texas to allow use of federal money in affected areas. McComb left the decision to residents because, he said, they can defy a mandatory evacuation order, first responders don't have the authority to force them to leave, and having to go door-to-door would put first responders in jeopardy in a unsafe storm situation such as Friday night and Saturday morning. According to the AP, the last Category 4 storm to hit the country was Hurricane Charley, which struck Florida in 2004. While areas near the eye at landfall got the brunt of the winds, millions will see torrential rains over the next several days which could cause catastrophic flooding.

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Rockport's local school and airport were among the places to suffer major damage while homes were also burnt to the ground as power cables caught fire.

Rain from Harvey is possible in North Texas Saturday, but flooding is a threat for areas farther south, WFAA's Pete Delkus reports.

But while the winds eased to 75 miles per hour, forecasters cautioned torrential rain would still be a major threat. "[This] is going to be a long, ongoing flood event", he said.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said it was forced to evacuate some 4,500 inmates from three state prisons near the Brazos River because of rising water.

There are about 1,500 evacuees who have ended up at Texas state parks, and any cost that would normally be incurred for them has been waived, said Abbott.

Another Rockport resident, Pamela Montes, said she knew many people who stayed behind because "no one felt like it was going to hit".

"We have not been able to completely assess damage with current winds at 90 plus", Wax told reporters.