News Coronavirus Hurricane Hanna pounds Texas as state battles to cope with massive COVID outbreak

Hurricane Hanna pounds Texas as state battles to cope with massive COVID outbreak

There's no figuring some people. This Texan scrambles for cover after deciding it really isn't a good day for a dip. Photo: AP
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Hurricane Hanna, the first of the 2020 Atlantic season, has made landfall in Texas, threatening an area of the country already reeling under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hurricane Hanna made landfall on Padre Island, Texas on Saturday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 145km/h, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Barrier islands just off the southeastern Texas coast were feeling the brunt of high winds and flooding, the National Hurricane Center said, warning that a potentially deadly storm surge is likely across a broad swathe of land.

Hanna is forecast to move inland over south Texas and into northeastern Mexico on Sunday, potentially spawning powerful tornadoes on the coastal plains.

“Any hurricane is an enormous challenge,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said during a Saturday briefing about the storm.

“This challenge is complicated and made even more severe, seeing that it’s sweeping through an area that is the most challenged area in the state for COVID-19.”

Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 32 counties in Texas that are in the storm’s path.

Hurricane Hanna’s swirling fury bears down on the Lone Star state. Photo: AP

Hanna is the first hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic season and one that will be like no other in recent memory, as the coroanvirus pandemic complicates everything.

Emergency and relief officials must now figure out how to observe social-distancing in emergency shelters and find beds for those injured by the storm in hospitals already straining to cope with COVID-19 patients.

On Padre Island pelting rain and strong gusts of wind were rocking palm trees and the beach was already underwater, according to video footage on Twitter.

Hanna could bring flash flooding, with up to 38cm of rain in pockets of southern Texas and northeastern Mexico.