Gulf Coast Braces for Hurricane Harvey. Direct Relief Ready to Respond.

Hurricane Harvey, as seen over the Gulf of Mexico Thursday, is gathering strength as it barrels towards the Texas Coast. (NOAA)

A Category 4 hurricane gathering strength in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to make landfall on the Texas coast on Friday, and Direct Relief has reached out to more than 50 health clinics that may be affected.

Hurricane Harvey is currently off the coast of Texas, registering sustained winds of about 110 mph, and continues to strengthen, according to the National Weather Service.

A Category 3 storm means that winds can reach at least 111 mph and that devastating damage may occur. The storm may bring a large amount of rain to the coast, anywhere from 12 to 20 inches, with isolated areas receiving as much as 30 inches, the service said.

A hurricane watch is in effect from Port Mansfield to the mouth of Rio Grande, covering much of the Texas coast. Dangerous flooding could also result in parts of Texas and Louisiana. Tropical storm warnings are also in effect for the cities of Houston and Galveston.

On Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster for 30 Texas counties in anticipation of Harvey making landfall this week.

Direct Relief is in contact with the Texas Association of Community Health Centers and has made offers of Emergency Health Kits, which contain key medicines and supplies often requested after major disasters.

Direct Relief has a long history of responding to hurricanes and extreme weather along the Gulf Coast. Hurricanes Ike and Katrina prompted a massive humanitarian response from the organization, and other events, like last year’s flooding in Texas and Louisiana, also spurred support to health clinics dealing with the impacts.

The map above shows Hurricane Harvey’s path as well as Direct Relief’s Hurricane Preparedness Packs, which have been prepositioned with healthcare clinics in hurricane-prone areas. Click the image to explore more of the map.

Hurricane Prep Packs have also been prepositioned throughout the area. Prep packs have enough medicines and supplies to treat 100 patients for 3-5 days, and clinics in Brownsville, Bay City, Houston and others have packs ready to open should they need them. Direct Relief’s Hurricane Preparedness Program Map can be viewed here, along with the current path of the storm.

Direct Relief will continue monitoring the storm’s impacts and stands ready to respond.