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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Hurricane Harvey settled over southeast Texas early Saturday, lashing the state’s Gulf Coast with damaging winds and dumping torrents of rain over hundreds of miles of coastline that braced for what forecasters predicted would be life-threatening storm surges — basically walls of water moving inland.

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The fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade made landfall the previous night about 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds. It gradually weakened over the next several hours and the National Hurricane Center said that by 3 a.m. Harvey was back to a Category 2 — still sustaining winds of 110 mph.

Harvey’s approach sent tens of thousands of residents fleeing inland, hoping to escape the wrath of a menacing storm that threatens not only the coast but a wide swath of Texas that is home to oil refineries, chemical plants and dangerously flood-prone Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city.

No deaths were immediately confirmed in the hours after Harvey’s arrival, but officials noted emergency crews couldn’t get out in many places due to high winds. Melissa Munguia, deputy emergency management coordinator in Nueces County, which includes Corpus Christi, said early Saturday that it could be hours before crews could fully assess the damage in coastal communities.

Early reports did begin to emerge from Rockport, a coastal city of about 10,000 people that was directly in Harvey’s path when it came ashore. Officials confirmed that the roof of Rockport’s high school had partially caved in and that the community’s historic downtown saw extensive damage.

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