Hurricane Hanna makes land fall in Southern Texas
Already battered by the coronavirus pandemic, Eouth East Texas faced a new but no less frightening foe on Saturday, as Hurricane Hanna slammed the coast with heavy rains and powerful winds.
Hanna strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday, becoming the first hurricane to hit the southern coastal region of Texas since Hurricane Harvey struck the area in August 2017 and caused the worst rainstorm in United States history.
Hanna’s eye made landfall on Padre Island, about 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, at about 5 p.m. on Saturday, with winds of 90 m.p.h. As the National Weather Service warned that the strong winds could peel roofs from homes, mangle trees and cause power failures, mayors and local officials turned from one crisis mode to another.
The cities and counties in the path of Hanna are some of the same communities that have seen a sudden spike in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations as Texas has become one of the largest hot spots in the country.
In a state that is no stranger to bad weather, the typical hurricane-prep ritual was altered by social distancing and face coverings, with fever checks required to enter officials’ news briefings and sandbag distribution provided by workers who covered their faces in masks and bandannas.
When natural disasters strike, swift and effective disaster response by local, state and federal officials has always been difficult. The pandemic has made it even harder.