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Hanna downgraded to tropical storm, but ‘catastrophic flooding’ remains possible in Texas

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Hurricane Hanna made landfall in Texas twice as a Category 1 storm Saturday before the National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm once again Sunday morning. At that point, Hanna had maximum sustained 60 mile per hour winds.

Despite weakening, the storm is still dangerous, and parts of northeastern Mexico and southern Texas are on alert. Tidal surges, dangerous surf, and tornadoes all remain possibilities, but heavy rainfall presents the most significant threat, The Associated Press reports. Forecasters said Hanna could bring 6 to 12 inches of rain through Sunday night, with isolated totals of 18 inches. “We’re not even close to over at this point,” said Chris Birchfield, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Brownsville, Texas. “We’re still expecting catastrophic flooding.”

In a press conference Saturday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said he signed a disaster declaration for 32 Texas counties and has requested a federal emergency declaration. He added that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard are already in the state and ready to respond to potentially “severe” and “life-threatening flash floods.” Any rescue operations will reportedly account for the coronavirus pandemic and incorporate social distancing guidelines and mask wearing. Read more at The Associated Press and NBC News.

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