Hurricane Hanna leaves trail of devastation in coronavirus-hit Texas

Thousands of homes and businesses have been left without power after Hurricane Hanna swept through southern Texas.

It came ashore on Saturday as a category one storm (the lowest of the five levels) and later was downgraded to a tropical storm.

But winds of up to 60mph still battered towns, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said, toppling vehicles and forcing a two mile stretch of US Route 77 in Sarita, near the Mexican border, to be closed for rescue missions.

Charles Pecce, 70, and wife Sharon Pecce, 76, clear debris after returning to their destroyed home in the aftermath of Hurricane Hanna in Port Mansfield, Texas, U.S., July 26,
Image:Homeowners have been left with plenty of damage to clear
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Image:Trucks blown aside along US Route 77 in Sarita, Texas

In Port Mansfield, winds ripped roofs off homes, flattened sugar cane fields and levelled trees.

The storm led to 283,000 homes and businesses losing electricity on Sunday, but the figure fell to 230,000 by the afternoon, according to poweroutage.us.

As it moved across Texas, it was forecast to become less severe, prompting weather officials to cancel the storm surge warning for the coast.

But while the winds have passed, there could be up to 18 inches of rain in isolated areas of southern Texas on Monday.

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

The storm has added to the ongoing problems Texas has already been dealing with in recent weeks, after it was faced with a surge in coronavirus cases.

Here are the 4 AM CDT Key Messages for Tropical Storm Hanna. For more info, visit https://t.co/tW4KeGdBFbpic.twitter.com/nyihrWW4I3

— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) July 26, 2020

The first landfall happened at 5pm on Saturday, 15 miles north of Port Mansfield, which is about 130 miles south of Corpus Christi.

The second took place nearby in eastern Kenedy County.

Hurricane Hanna
Image:Hurricane Hanna pictured as it neared Texas
A storm surge swells in Corpus Christi Bay as Hurricane Hanna approaches
Image:A storm surge swelled in Corpus Christi Bay as Hanna approached

More than 43,700 people in South Texas, including Corpus Christi, Harlingen and Brownsville, were without power on Saturday evening.

In a tweet, President Donald Trump said his administration was monitoring Hanna, along with Hurricane Douglas, which was heading toward Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.

The White House also approved an emergency disaster declaration for Texas.

My Administration is closely monitoring Hurricane Douglas off Hawaii & Hurricane Hanna, which has now made landfall in Texas. We continue to coordinate closely with both states — listen to your emergency management officials @Hawaii_EMA & @TDEM to protect your family & property! https://t.co/tFxHLSqcBE

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2020

Resident Sherry Boehme, who lives along a beach in Corpus Christi, said the storm had increased the anxiety she felt during the pandemic.

The 67-year-old has mostly stayed at home because of health issues related to chronic lung disease.

She said: “It’s almost like a double whammy to us. I think it’s made a lot of people nervous.

“We’ll get through it. Everybody is good and strong and sticks together.”

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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