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Hurricane Hanna downgraded to tropical storm as it lands in COVID-hit Texas

Texas, US: Hurricane Hanna battered the south Texas coast with blistering winds and crashing waves into the early hours of Sunday, July 26, leaving a large area badly hit by COVID-19 bracing for potential torrential rain and flash floods.

Hanna, the first storm of the Atlantic season, came ashore on Padre Island on Saturday, July 25 afternoon as a Category 1 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, and later made a second landfall in Eastern Kennedy County, Texas. By Sunday morning, Hanna had weakened to a tropical storm and was about 40 miles (65 kilometres) west north west of Mcallen, Texas and about 65 miles (105 kilometres) from Monterrey, Mexico, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. At 0400 CDT (0900 GMT), Hanna was reaching maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (95 km per hour), it said.

The NHC forecast that Hanna would lose force as it moved inland across Texas and northeastern Mexico overnight into Sunday. It cancelled an earlier warning of a storm surge it had issued for the Texan coast but warned that the storm could dump upward of 18 inches (0.45 metres) of rain in the area through Monday. That could cause life-threatening flash floods, while the storm could spawn tornadoes on the coastal plains.
The storm is not expected to affect offshore oil and gas production. Energy companies have not evacuated workers or shut down production from their Gulf of Mexico platforms. The Texas area struck by Hanna has struggled to contain outbreaks of COVID-19 in recent weeks. Cases along the state's coast have soared into the tens of thousands, and more than 400 people in Corpus Christi's city of 325,000 were hospitalized with the novel coronavirus on Friday, according to city data.

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