Hurricane Hanna roared ashore onto the Texas Gulf Coast on Saturday, bringing winds that lashed the shoreline with rain and storm surges, even threatening to bring possible tornadoes to a part of the country trying to cope with a spike in coronavirus cases.
The first hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season made landfall twice as a Category 1 storm on Saturday afternoon within the span of little over an hour.
Many parts of Texas, including areas near where Hanna came ashore, have been dealing with a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, but local officials said they were prepared for whatever the storm might bring.
Chris Birchfield, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Brownsville, said residents needed to remain alert. While Hanna’s winds were expected to weaken throughout Saturday night, the storm’s real threat remained heavy rainfall, he said. “We’re not even close to over at this point. We’re still expecting catastrophic flooding,” Birchfield said.
In a tweet, President Donald Trump said his administration was monitoring Hanna, along with Hurricane Douglas, which was heading towards Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.
Hanna came nearly three years after Hurricane Harvey made landfall northeast of Corpus Christi. Hanna was not expected to be as destructive as Harvey, which killed 68 people and caused an estimated $125bn in damage in Texas.
In the Mexican city of Matamoros, which is in Tamaulipas and across the border from Brownsville, Texas, volunteers were keeping a close eye on Hanna, worried the storm could affect a makeshift migrant camp near the Rio Grande where about 1,300 asylum seekers, including newborn babies and elderly residents, have been waiting under the US immigration policy informally known as “Remain in Mexico”.