Harvey cuts power to nearly 300K Texas customers

A power pole lays in the middle of a street as Hurricane Harvey makes landfall in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Hurricane Harvey smashed into Texas late Friday, lashing a wide swath of the Gulf Coast with strong winds and torrential rain from the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - Hurricane Harvey has knocked out power to nearly 300,000 customers along the Texas coast and has dumped nearly 20 inches (half a meter) of rain in some places.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages about 90 percent of the state's electric grid, says there were 211,000 outages in the few hours after Harvey made landfall Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane.

That figure rose to 293,000 on Saturday, when the hurricane was downgraded to Category 1.

In addition to loss of power, emergency personnel in the communities northeast of Corpus Christi where Harvey made landfall are reporting loss of cellphone service and other forms of communication.

The rain was so torrential along Interstate 45 coming out of Galveston as Hurricane Harvey settled over southeast Texas that motorists had to stop under bridges to avoid driving in whiteout conditions.

The downpour on Saturday has also caused minor street flooding along a highway in Dickinson, about 25 miles northwest of Galveston.

Harvey, the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade, made landfall Friday night about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph (209 kph) winds.

It gradually weakened over the next several hours and the National Hurricane Center said that by 5 a.m. Saturday Harvey was downgraded to a Category 1.

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