As the first rain bands of Hurricane Hanna began to move over Hidalgo County Saturday afternoon, County Judge Richard F. Cortez declared a local state of disaster, sending a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott asking for state disaster relief resources.
“The County of Hidalgo, Texas is facing significant threats to life, health and property due to the impact of Hurricane Hanna with the expectation of dangerous to catastrophic flooding, dangerous high winds and torrential rains on July 25-26, 2020,” Cortez’s letter to the governor stated. “I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that an effective response is beyond the capability of the local jurisdiction to control. …
“I am requesting that you declare a state of emergency for the state of Texas and issue appropriate directives to deal with the emergency.”
The declaration takes effect immediately and will last for seven days, unless extended by the Hidalgo County Commissioners’ Court.
Hanna strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane as it moved toward the South Texas coast overnight Friday, with the eye of the storm headed toward Port Mansfield in Willacy County.
Late Friday night, Port Mansfield Port Director Ronald Mills recommended the evacuation of the small fishing village.
By Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service (NWS) in Brownsville was reporting “significant structural damage in Port Mansfield,” according to a NWS tweet posted at 2:40 p.m.
A weather observation post in coastal Kenedy County recorded wind gusts of up to 103 mph, the NWS said.