Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Emergency officials issued mandatory evacuations for some counties and cities in southeast Texas on Thursday as Hurricane Harvey inches closer to the gulf coast.
The city of Port Aransas in Nueces County was the first to issue a mandatory evacuation at about midday. Emergency officials also ordered evacuations for all of Calhoun County and San Patricio County.
Matagorda County ordered the evacuation of people living in the southern portion of the county, as well.
In Corpus Christi, in Nueces County, Mayor Joe McComb urged voluntary evacuations, which could become mandatory later in the day. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi delayed resident move-in and ordered the mandatory evacuation of all resident students already on campus.
Corpus Christi provided free sandbags to residents seeking to protect their homes from expected floodwaters.
The eye of Hurricane Harvey is forecast to make landfall Friday between Corpus Christi and Matagorda Bay.
The National Hurricane Center said in its 2 p.m. advisory that Harvey is moving north-northwest at 10 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. The center of the storm was about 335 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, and 325 miles south-southeast of Port O'Connor.
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.
There also is a tropical storm warning north of of Matagorda to High Island and south of Port Mansfield to the mouth of the Rio Grande. A tropical storm watch was in effect from south of the mouth of the Rio Grande to Boca de Catan, Mexico.
Forecasters said the storm could also generate swells with potentially life-threatening surf and rip current conditions in the Texas, Louisiana and northeast Mexico coasts by Friday. The slow pace of the storm means the region will likely see heavy rainfall and flooding.
There was a storm surge warning from Port Mansfield to High Island Texas and a storm surge watch from south of Port Mansfield to mouth of the Rio Grande.
Schools and businesses throughout the coastal region of Texas also have closed and canceled events through the end of the week.