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Hanna Pummels Texas as First Atlantic Hurricane of 2020 and Earliest ‘H’ Storm on Record

Climate
Hanna Pummels Texas as First Atlantic Hurricane of 2020 and Earliest ‘H’ Storm on Record
A Coast Guard aircrew conducts an overflight of areas impacted by Hurricane Hanna near Aransas Pass, Texas on July 26, 2020. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Hurricane Hanna, the first hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, battered the Texas coast on Saturday and Sunday as the state continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.


Hanna made landfall as a Category 1 storm at 6 p.m. EDT Saturday along the Padre Island National Seashore, around 50 miles south of Corpus Christi, Yale Climate Connections reported. South Texas, including Corpus Christi, has the highest coronavirus hospitalization rate in the country.

"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," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Saturday, as The Independent reported.

Abbott said that, to encourage social distancing, some people would be sheltered in hotel rooms. He also said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had approved an emergency declaration for the state.

Meanwhile, Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast chapter CEO Henry Van De Putte said the organization was working to keep its shelters safe by opening them at reduced capacity, conducting temperature checks on volunteers and evacuees and having a medical worker on hand at each location.

"Yes, coronavirus provides risk, but so does floodwater, so does not having electricity, so does not having required medications," Van De Putte told The Associated Press, as The Independent reported. "We're doing everything we can do possible to make it a safe environment."

Hanna made landfall a second time in Kenedy County, Texas, Reuters reported. By Sunday, it had weakened to a tropical depression. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

In Port Mansfield, winds knocked down sugarcane fields and trees and even tore the roofs off of houses.

That included the home of 75-year-old Sharon Pecce, who was visiting a friend with her husband when the damage occurred.

"You could hear the wind blowing and the rain blowing and you looked outside you could see sheets of water blowing down the street," Pecce told Reuters. "It's scary to go through this at my age, a lot could have happened ... we could have been killed."

Wind also knocked over at least three 18-wheeler trucks and a recreational vehicle. Attempts to right the trucks shut down two miles of U.S. Route 77 in Sarita, Texas Sunday.

The storm also brought power outages and heavy rain. At one point, there were more than 283,000 homes and businesses without power, but that number had decreased to 98,000 by Sunday night.

The storm also dumped more than a foot of rain on some parts of South Texas, CNN reported, leading to flooding.

In Mission, Texas, the National Weather Service declared a flash flood emergency as rising waters prompted several water rescues.

Storm waters also flooded parts of downtown Corpus Christi, including the Art Museum of South Texas, according to Yale Climate Connections.

The storm passed over to northeast Mexico Sunday morning and is expected to break up over the mountains there.

"Heavy rain and dangerous flash flooding continue over northeast Mexico," the National Hurricane Center said early Monday.

Hanna extends 2020's emerging reputation as an early and active Atlantic hurricane season. It broke records as the first H storm of any Atlantic hurricane season and came well before the average date for the first Atlantic hurricane of a season — Aug. 10, according to Yale Climate Connections.

It is also the fourth named storm to make landfall in the U.S. this year. The only other year to have four named storms make landfall so early in the summer was 1886.

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