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Hanna roars ashore in virus-hit Texas

Agence France-Presse

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HANNA is expected to produce heavy rains and flash flooding. W. Commons

Hanna, the first Atlantic hurricane of 2020, slammed into the coast of coronavirus-hit Texas on Saturday, bringing heavy rain, storm surge and potentially life-threatening flash flooding.

The Category 1 storm packed winds of around 90 miles  per hour as it came ashore at Padre Island, the US National Hurricane Center said.

“Hanna is expected to produce heavy rains across portions of southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. These rains will result in life-threatening flash flooding,” and some river flooding, the meteorologists said.

“Life-threatening storm surge will continue along portions of the Texas coast,” it said, with the surge potentially reaching 6 feet  in some areas.

Hanna could drop 18 inches of rain through Monday on south Texas and the Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and northern Tamaulipas.

Hanna roared ashore as Texas is facing a huge surge in coronavirus infections, with officials instituting a state-wide mask mandate to try to curb the spread of the disease.

Hanna was about 70 miles south of Corpus Christi, Texas, when it made landfall. The city of 325,000, home to one of the largest virus outbreaks in Texas, had closed libraries and museums as residents braced for the storm, local media reported.

The US is the hardest-hit country in the coronavirus pandemic, with some 4.2 million cases, and authorities will have to figure out how to safely shelter residents forced out of their homes by future hurricanes this season. 

Hanna was forecast to move inland over south Texas on Saturday night, and into northeastern Mexico on Sunday.

Two other storm systems were churning Saturday: Pacific Hurricane Douglas, bearing down on the Hawaiian islands, and Tropical Storm Gonzalo in the Atlantic, near the Windward Islands.

Douglas — at one point a powerful Category 4 hurricane — has weakened to a Category 1 storm with wind speeds of 90 miles per hour. 

The NHC said Saturday the storm “will be near the main Hawaiian Islands late tonight and will move over parts of the state Sunday and Monday,” bringing high winds, heavy surf, and rainfall of up to 10 inches.

A hurricane warning was in effect in Oahu.

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s government warned of heavy rains and gusting winds as Gonzalo moved west across the Caribbean. 

Big waves have already started to pound the coast in eastern Venezuela and power was knocked in some areas Saturday, Venezuelan media reported.

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