Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 October 2020

Hurricane Hanna batters Covid-hit Texas coast

Weakening as it headed west overland, Hanna was a tropical storm by Sunday morning

Hurricane Hanna hit Texas on Saturday. AP
Hurricane Hanna hit Texas on Saturday. AP

Hurricane Hanna battered the south Texas coast with high wind and crashing waves into the early hours of Sunday, leaving a large area already badly hit by Covid-19 bracing for possible flash floods.

Hanna came ashore on Padre Island on Saturday afternoon as a Category 1 hurricane and later made a second landfall in eastern Kennedy County, Texas.

Hanna weakened as it travelled west over land and was a tropical storm by Sunday morning, with its centre about 65 kilometres from McAllen, Texas, and about 105km from Monterrey, Mexico, the National Hurricane Centre said.

Early in the morning, Hanna’s top sustained winds were about 95kph, it said. It was forecast to further lose steam as it moved across Texas and north-eastern Mexico.

The centre cancelled a storm surge warning it issued for the Texas coast but said Hanna could dump more than 45 centimetres of rain in the area on Monday.

“This rain will produce, life-threatening flash flooding, rapid rises on small streams and isolated minor-to-moderate river flooding,” the NHC said.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Saturday that the storm was especially challenging as it was sweeping through an area of the state that was the worst hit by the coronavirus.

Mr Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 32 counties in Texas that were in the storm’s path.

The storm was not expected to affect offshore oil and gas production. Energy companies have not left their premises or shut down production from their Gulf of Mexico platforms because of Hanna.

The Texas area struck by Hanna has struggled to contain outbreaks of Covid-19 in recent weeks. Cases along the state’s coast have soared into the tens of thousands.

More than 400 people in Corpus Christi were admitted to hospital with the illness on Friday, data for the city showed.

Updated: July 26, 2020 11:13 PM

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