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Texas braces as Hurricane Hanna arrives

Meteorologists say the biggest concern from Hanna is expected to be flash flooding.

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A pirate flag is seen on the beach ahead of Hurricane Hanna (Annie Rice/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)

A pirate flag is seen on the beach ahead of Hurricane Hanna (Annie Rice/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)

A pirate flag is seen on the beach ahead of Hurricane Hanna (Annie Rice/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)

Hurricane Hanna has roared ashore onto the Texas Gulf Coast, bringing winds that lashed the shoreline with rain and storm surge, and 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 season made landfall at around 5pm CDT about 15 miles north of Port Mansfield. As of Saturday evening, it had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph.

Many parts of Texas, including the area 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.

Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said that he had seen some residents doing last-minute shopping for supplies, but he warned that if that had not been done already, people should stay at home and ride out the storm.

“We’ve been staying at home for five months because of the corona(virus). … So staying home doesn’t sound real popular, but right now this is a real important matter,” Mr McComb said, adding that residents should remember to wear masks if they have to evacuate their homes.

Steady rain fell in Corpus Christi and the winds got stronger.

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Gov Greg Abbott provides an update on the state’s ongoing response to Hurricane Hanna in Austin, Texas (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Gov Greg Abbott provides an update on the state’s ongoing response to Hurricane Hanna in Austin, Texas (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

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Gov Greg Abbott provides an update on the state’s ongoing response to Hurricane Hanna in Austin, Texas (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Sherry Boehme, who lives in a condo along the beach there, said the storm’s approach had increased the anxiety she has felt during the pandemic. The 67-year-old has mostly stayed at home because of health issues related to chronic lung disease.

“It’s almost like a double whammy to us,” Ms Boehme said Saturday by phone. “I think it’s made a lot of people nervous. … We’ll get through it. Everybody is good and strong and sticks together.”

Ms Boehme said she had already felt 60 mph wind gusts at her condo and had seen a surge of water coming from the bay. Most people seemed to be staying home, as traffic was light, she said.

Judge Barbara Canales, Nueces County’s top elected official, said officials were highly concerned about storm surge that was already moving inland.

Live webcam footage showed waves sweeping over popular Whitecap Beach near Corpus Christi hours before the hurricane was expected to make landfall.

First responders in Corpus Christi proactively placed barricades near intersections to have them ready to go if streets began to flood, Mr McComb said.

More than 35,000 people throughout South Texas, including Corpus Christi, Harlingen and Brownsville, were without power early Saturday evening, according to AEP Texas.

The main hazard from Hanna was expected to be flash flooding. Forecasters said Hanna could bring 6 to 12 inches of rain through Sunday night — with isolated totals of 18 inches — in addition to coastal swells that could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

PA