First Texas hurricane of the season causes minor damage
By Gaige Davila
Hurricane Hanna, strengthening from a tropical storm just before touching down on North Padre Island at around 5 p.m. on July 25, brought at least 8 to 10 inches of rain to South Padre Island and destroyed docks, fences, signs and trees. The rest of the Rio Grande Valley, particularly Hidalgo County, received the true wrath of the storm.
Hanna had sustained winds as high as 90 mph when it made landfall, dumping at least 12 inches of rain in Harlingen, according to an article on the city’s website. Around the Valley, some areas received at least 15 inches of rain, according to a report from the Brownsville Herald.
On July 24, the City of South Padre Island’s Shoreline and Public Works crews made preparations for Hanna’s touchdown, building sand barriers at beach accesses and clearing debris made from high wind speeds. City staff also shoveled and distributed sandbags for locals, in tandem with Port Isabel and Laguna Vista city staff who were also providing sandbags.
The City of Port Isabel opened a storm shelter in its municipal court building, available for anyone who needed power for medical equipment. The City of South Padre Island opened their fire hall for residents needing power for medical equipment as well.
In Laguna Vista, the Salvation Army served 200 meals after the storm from the parking lot of the Laguna Vista Public Library.
In Cameron County, Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., said the two storm shelters opened for Cameron County residents remained empty throughout the storm.
“Not one family showed up,” Treviño said during a July 27 press conference, saying this was likely because of fears of contracting COVID-19. In Port Isabel, City Manager Jared Hockema said that no one used Port Isabel’s impromptu storm shelter either.
According to American Red Cross, since July 25, more than 300 people have stayed overnight in their shelters in La Feria (for Cameron County residents) and Edcouch High School (for Hidalgo County residents). The American Red Cross served over 1,700 meals and snacks to Rio Grande Valley residents after the storm as well.
Hockema said minor damage was reported throughout the city. There were roof leaks in city buildings overgoing roof repair projects, Hockema said.
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