La Feria News

Hurricane Hanna packs a punch with heavy winds, rain

A flooded neighborhood at the corner of Main St. and W. Primrose Ave. in La Feria. Photo: Nelda Briones / LFN

By NELDA BRIONES
LFN

LA FERIA – Hurricane Hanna introduced itself to the Rio Grande Valley on Saturday, July 25. The Category 1 storm made landfall in Kennedy Country, just north of Port Mansfield with sustained winds of 90 mph and then continued moving southwest directly through the heart of the Valley until finally exiting into Mexico by Sunday, July 26.

Courtesy photo: Corrie Avalos Miller / LFN Facebook Page

Hanna was upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane while it still churned off the coast of Texas on July 25, becoming the first hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Many in the Valley were caught somewhat off guard by the storm, which on July 24 was expected to make landfall much further to the north and only as a tropical storm.

As area residents realized that Hanna was going to pack a much bigger punch that expected, people scrambled to prepare. Long lines formed as sandbags were distributed here in La Feria and across the Valley.

Cameron County also opened up two shelter domes, one in La Feria and the other in Los Fresnos to assist those in need.

In addition to strong winds that knocked out power to much of the Valley, Hanna produced heavy rains across portions of Deep South Texas and brought about major flooding in some areas.

Courtesy photo: Victor Martinez / LFN Facebook Page
Courtesy photo: Elma Juarez / LFN Facebook Page

According to AEP spokesman Eladio Jaimez, the hurricane knocked out power to about 152,000 customers in the Valley and by Tuesday, July 28 many were still without power.

Despite the widespread storm, La Feria fared rather well with reports of only minimal damage and only localized flooding that cleared up rather quickly. Reports of flooding were quite minimal throughout much of Cameron County although early estimates showed that much of the area received more than 8-10 inches of rain.

With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting hard here in South Texas and now a hurricane, Gov. Greg Abbott sent resources to help our local communities.

The National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Division of Emergency Management deployed high-water vehicles, rescue boats, helicopters and medical teams.

Courtesy photo: Melinda Garcia / LFN Facebook Page

As of Sunday, July 26, Gov. Abbott announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and President Donald Trump had granted an emergency declaration request in the wake of damage caused by Hurricane Hanna.

The last hurricane that hit Valley and did damage was Hurricane Dolly, which hit on July 23, 2008 as a Category 2 storm. At its strongest, the storm’s winds reached sustained speeds of 100 mph with gusting winds reaching even higher speeds. By comparison, Dolly caused significantly more flooding as some areas were underwater for weeks afterward.

Photo: Nelda Briones / LFN
Courtesy photo: Sandra Fuentes / LFN Facebook Page
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Courtesy photo: Melissa Guevara-Avila / LFN Facebook Page
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Courtesy photo: Malena Bobby / LFN Facebook Page
Courtesy photo: Malena Bobby / LFN Facebook Page
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Courtesy photo: Abel Gonzalez Mencio / LFN Facebook Page
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