Disaster declaration issued as Hurricane Hanna touches down in Texas
The first storm of the hurricane season touched down around 6 p.m. close to the southern tip of Texas in Padre Island, just off the Gulf of Mexico, according to the National Weather Service.
Gov. Greg Abbott hours earlier issued a disaster declaration for 32 counties as the state grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases. The governor said rescue and shelter plans will take the pandemic into account, with some shelters set up at hotels so residents can remain socially distanced.
“We cannot allow this hurricane to lead to a more catastrophically deadly event by stoking additional spread of COVID-19 that could lead to fatalities,” Abbott said.
NWS forecasts expect the storm to rip through the state into Sunday, with 6 to 12 inches of rain through Sunday night.
The primary concern in the state is flash flooding, though coastal swells could bring life-threatening surf and rip currents.
Hanna could also bring tornadoes Saturday in parts of the lower to middle Texas coastal plain.
A second storm, Hurricane Douglas, is threatening to reach land in Hawaii late Saturday night, according to NWS. After intensifying in the Pacific Ocean, that hurricane has since weakened to a Category 2 storm with wind speeds of 105 mph.
“My Administration is closely monitoring Hurricane Douglas off Hawaii & Hurricane Hanna, which has now made landfall in Texas,” President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday evening. “We continue to coordinate closely with both states.”
The NWS warned the storm could be “potentially passing dangerously close to, or over, the islands late tonight through Sunday night.” Hurricane warnings were in effect Saturday in Hawaii and Maui counties as well as Oahu.
“Our top priority is always the safety, health and well-being of our residents and visitors. Please take immediate steps to protect your families, loved ones, employees and property. We ask everyone to closely follow emergency instructions as we prepare for Hurricane Douglas,” said Hawaii Gov. David Ige in a statement.
With Post wires