Texas braces for 12 months’s first hurricane amid coronavirus outbreak

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The US state of Texas, already coping with a surge in coronavirus circumstances, is bracing for the primary Atlantic hurricane of the season, which is anticipated to convey heavy rains, storm surges and doable tornadoes.

Tropical storm Hanna strengthened and was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane early on Saturday by the US National Hurricane Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The hurricane is anticipated to hit the Texas coast between Corpus Christi and Brownsville later within the day. A storm surge warning was issued for the stretch of the Texas coast from Port Mansfield to Sargent.

On Friday, residents in a number of Texas communities in Kleberg County, south of Corpus Christi, have been urged to evacuate their properties forward of the storm’s arrival. 

Hanna was about 120 kilometres (75 miles) northeast of Port Mansfield, packing most sustained winds of 128 kilometres per hour (80 miles per hour), the division mentioned.

“Additional strengthening is forecast before Hanna makes landfall later today,” the Miami-based forecaster mentioned, including the hurricane will quickly weaken after it strikes inland. 

Video footage on Twitter of Port Aransas in Nueces County, Texas confirmed gray skies and lashing waves that had already engulfed a seaside forward of the storm’s landfall. 

Coronavirus issues

The area the place the storm is anticipated to make landfall has struggled to comprise the coronavirus in latest weeks, with circumstances alongside the coast hovering into the tens of 1000’s. More than 400 individuals in Corpus Christi’s metropolis of 325,000 have been hospitalised with the novel coronavirus on Friday, based on metropolis knowledge.

Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb warned residents who stay in flood-prone areas to heed coronavirus precautions when deciding to evacuate, the Texas Tribune reported.

“Take several masks with you because you might be there a couple days if you’re in a flood area,” McComb mentioned, based on the Tribune. “We don’t want to expose anyone during this storm … Even when you’re in the house, I recommend wearing a mask if you’re in crowded conditions.” 

Farther south in Cameron County, which borders Mexico, greater than 300 confirmed new circumstances have been reported almost day by day for the previous two weeks, based on state well being figures. The previous week has additionally been the county’s deadliest of the pandemic. 

Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino, the county’s prime elected official, mentioned he was awaiting phrase on Friday of whether or not accommodations could be used to deal with recovering COVID-19 sufferers with a view to liberate hospital beds.

“If there’s any benefit to be gained from this, it’s that people have to stay at home for a weekend,” Trevino mentioned. 

Officials reminded residents to put on masks in the event that they wanted to get provides earlier than the storm arrives or in the event that they should shelter with neighbours due to flooding. 

Coastal states scrambled this spring to regulate emergency hurricane plans to account for the virus.

South Texas officers’ plans for any doable rescues, shelters and monitoring of the storm could have the pandemic in thoughts, whereas Governor Greg Abbott mentioned varied assets to reply to the storm have been on standby throughout the state, together with search-and-rescue groups and plane.

Gonzalo and Douglas

Also within the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Gonzalo was nonetheless on monitor to move throughout the southern Windward Islands on Saturday.

Gonzalo was transferring west near 30km/h (18mph) with most sustained winds at 65km/h (40mph), the National Hurricane Center mentioned. The storm is forecast to convey 30-80 millimetres of rain with remoted totals of 130mm.

A tropical storm warning was in impact for Tobago and Grenada and its dependencies. The storm was anticipated to dissipate by Sunday night time or Monday, forecasters mentioned.

Meanwhile, within the Pacific, Hurricane Douglas headed in direction of Hawaii with wind speeds of about 175km/h.

However, authorities anticipate the Category 2 hurricane to weaken to the stage of a tropical storm earlier than passing near Hawaii’s greatest islands late on Sunday.

Honolulu authorities have been making ready further shelter area so individuals can preserve a secure bodily distance from others, consistent with coronavirus precautions.

Evacuees at Honolulu shelters could have their temperatures taken, based on officers. Those with excessive temperatures or with a travel or publicity historical past will both be remoted at that shelter or taken to a special web site.