Hurricane Hanna brings power cuts and flooding to Texas after being downgraded to tropical storm

Heavy rain and winds of up to 60mph overturn trucks, bring down power lines and flood streets

Phil Thomas
New York
@philipthomaspt
Sunday 26 July 2020 21:33
comments
Allen Heath surveys the damage to a private marina in Corpus Christi, Texas after it was hit by Tropical Storm Hanna, which was downgraded from a hurricane as it hit land
Allen Heath surveys the damage to a private marina in Corpus Christi, Texas after it was hit by Tropical Storm Hanna, which was downgraded from a hurricane as it hit land

The first hurricane to hit the US this season lashed Texas with high winds and heavy rain, despite being downgraded to a tropical storm.

Boats were destroyed, power lines brought down and streets flooded as storm Hanna swept through the south of the Lone Star state as it continues to battle a different crisis – the increasing number of coronavirus cases.

The storm brought sustained winds of 60mph and dropped more than 12 inches of rain, according to the National Hurricane Centre. It made landfall on Padre Island, south of Corpus Christi.

At least three 18-wheeler trucks and several other vehicles were overturned, shutting down a two-mile stretch of US Route 77 in Sarita, close to the Mexican border.

More than 283,000 homes and businesses were without power at one point.

An overturned truck on US Route 77 in Sarita, Texas which was blown over by high winds brought by Tropical Storm Hanna

Coastal states have been working to adjust their emergency plans to take account of the coronavirus.

Texas governor Greg Abbott said on Saturday that some people in need of shelter would be given hotel rooms to help maintain social distancing from others.

As the storm swept in he said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had approved an emergency declaration that will provide federal aid.

He said: "Any hurricane is an enormous challenge. This challenge is complicated and made even more severe, seeing that it is sweeping through an area that is the most challenged area in the state for Covid-19."

The state has seen more than 390,000 coronavirus infections, and 5,000 deaths. It is one of several states, mostly in the south and west, which have been recording record one-day rises in confirmed infections.

Henry Van De Putte, CEO of the Red Cross's Texas Gulf Coast chapter, said the organisation was opening shelters with reduced capacity to ensure social distancing. Volunteers and people seeking refuge will undergo temperature checks, and a medical professional will be assigned to each location, he said.

He said people should not delay seeking help because of the virus.

Mr Van De Putte told the Associated Press: "Yes, coronavirus provides risk, but so does floodwater, so does not having electricity, so does not having required medications.

"We're doing everything we can do possible to make it a safe environment."

Hanna is now heading towards Mexico. Authorities in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas have been disinfecting shelters to try to avoid spreading COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Hawaii was continuing to brace for the arrival of Hurricane Douglas, which is expected to bring maximum sustained winds of up to 90 mph by Monday.

Agencies contributed to this report

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