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Hurricane Hanna
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Hurricane Hanna lashes Texas as US state faces coronavirus crisis

Hurricane Hanna
[Eric Gay/AP Photo]

Year’s first Atlantic hurricane forces officials to arrange shelters and evacuation while maintaining social distancing.

Hurricane Hanna has pummelled the southern coast of Texas in the United States overnight with howling winds and a surging sea that threatens a broad area already contending with a spike in coronavirus cases.

Hanna, the first hurricane in the 2020 Atlantic storm season, has forced authorities to arrange shelters and evacuation for people while also maintaining physical distancing protocols and other pandemic restrictions.

By nightfall on Saturday, Hanna’s blistering winds were ripping up the Texas coast near Corpus Christi.

A storm surge was expected to hit a 482-km (300-mile) stretch of shoreline, from the town of Sargent in the north to Port Mansfield in the south, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The NHC forecast that Hanna would lose steam as it moved inland across Texas and northeastern Mexico overnight into Sunday.

But the storm could dump upward of 18 inches of rain in the area through Monday. That could cause life-threatening flash floods, while the storm could spawn tornadoes on the coastal plains.

Hanna, a Category 1 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, came ashore on Padre Island on Saturday afternoon and later made a second landfall in Eastern Kennedy County, Texas.

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