Hurricane Hanna makes landfall, rakes Texas coast with high wind
A Category 1 storm, the lowest on the five-step Saffir Simpson scale, much of Hanna’s damage is likely to come from dangerous storm surge and flooding inland rains.Updated: Jul 26, 2020, 05:50 IST
Hanna, 2020’s first Atlantic hurricane, made landfall on Padre Island Saturday evening, bringing “life-threatening” storm surges, flooding rains and tree-toppling winds to south Texas.
The storm came ashore with 90-mile-per-hour (145 kmph) winds, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory at 6 pm EDT. Hanna is moving west-south-west at about 8 miles per hour.
A Category 1 storm, the lowest on the five-step Saffir Simpson scale, much of Hanna’s damage is likely to come from dangerous storm surge and flooding inland rains. Video of flooded and streets blocked with debris have been posted on Twitter. Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 32 counties in Hanna’s path.
Three other named Atlantic storms have hit the US in 2020 so far but at below hurricane strength.
“Life-threatening storm surge will continue along portions of the Texas coast,” Stacy Stewart, a senior hurricane specialist at the center, wrote in his forecast. “Hanna is expected to produce heavy rains across portions of southern Texas and northeastern Mexico.”Water in many Texas bays could reach 6 feet above high tide levels and residents in its path have been told to flee, a situation made more complicated by the presence of Covid-19. Seas are already starting to rise along the coast. Storm surges kill about half of all those who die in hurricanes.
The storm could have an impact on cotton crops in the region, but Hanna’s most powerful winds are rather compact, stretching just 25 miles from its center, said Ryan Truchelut, president of WeatherTiger LLC in Tallahassee, Florida.While Hanna has prompted some offshore rigs to evacuate, the impact on oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been muted.
Hanna isn’t the only threat. Hurricane Douglas is still bearing down on Hawaii also 90-mph winds, the center said, although it’s weakened after peaking as Category 4 storm on Friday. Douglas was about 440 miles east of Hilo and on its current track it could clip Maui and Oahu overnight Sunday into Monday.
Heavy rain is likely regardless of whether Douglas makes a direct strike on one of the Hawaiian islands or just passes by, and could touch off mudslides and floods. While it will weaken as it nears the chain, Douglas will probably be at least a Category 1 hurricane at that point. President Donald Trump approved an emergency declaration for the state.
Meanwhile, compact Gonzalo fell apart near the Caribbean Windward Islands. Forecasters are also watching a tropical wave of thunderstorms moving off Africa that has a 70% chance of becoming Isaias, 2020’s ninth named storm.
“The tropical wave is a major concern for the week ahead,” Truchelut said. “This system is likely to develop, and may target the Southeastern US in around 10 days.”