Tropical Storm Harvey expected to make landfall as major hurricane

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) --Hurricane Harvey is expected to hit Texas as a Category 3 storm -- the likes of which haven't been seen since 1999's Hurricane Bret -- when it makes landfall late Friday or early Saturday, forecasters say.

The storm strengthened to a hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph on Thursday afternoon.

The storm's surge could be life-threatening, up to 10 feet, with waves as high as 20 feet on top of that. Rain is expected to range from 10 to 20 inches and some areas could receive up to 30 inches. Perilous flash flooding is also possible as are 115 mph wind gusts.

"Harvey is expected to landfall around 1 a.m. Saturday based on the current track," ABC News Meteorologist Melissa Griffin said, adding that more time over water could increase the storm's strength. "If it had another day or two, it could be a higher category."

The storm is being compared to not only to Hurricane Bret but also to the devastating Tropical Storm Allison, which in 2001 punished Houston with 40 inches of rain.

The biggest worry with Hurricane Harvey is that it's expected to stall over southeast Texas, Griffin said.

"When it does make landfall, it is expected to ... not move for several days, which is why we expect the rainfall to be the most devastating," Griffin said. "Some spots could receive over 30 inches."

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz posted on Facebook, asking his followers to keep "all those in the path of this storm in your thoughts and prayers."

The lawmaker urged Texans in the storm's predicted path to "heed warnings from local officials, know your evacuation route and avoid all high-water areas" and not to underestimate Mother Nature.

"This is a serious storm, with strong winds and what forecasters have predicted will potentially be a historic amount of rainfall that will significantly raise the risk of serious and life-threatening flooding," Cruz said.

On Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned of "severe flooding" and declared a state of disaster for 30 counties along the coastline.

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Tropical Storm Harvey expected to make landfall as major hurricane

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