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Texas Gov. Abbott Tours Communities Damaged By Hurricane Hanna

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott praised first responders and local residents in Corpus Christi for their actions during the passage of Hurricane Hanna. Later on Tuesday, he reviewed the damage in the Rio Grande Valley.

Abbott toured the Gulf Coast city on Tuesday and viewed the damage following the Category 1 storm, which struck Saturday evening. There were no reports of fatalities or serious injuries.

He singled out for praise Texas Task Force One for their high water rescue operations. The task force included members from some of the state’s largest urban fire departments.

At midday Tuesday, about one third of Corpus Christi remained without power.

The hurricane seriously damaged Padre Island's Bob Hall Pier, a popular spot for fishermen, residents and tourists, and Abbott noted that as he took stock of the situation.

“Obviously, as everybody knows, [there was] damage to Bob Hall Pier, the damage to the aquarium, as well as some damage, although not as extensive, in the art museum," he told reporters. "Obviously, beach erosion and some street erosion took place."

Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales called the pier the heart of Padre Island, and she pledged to rebuild it.

Teams from FEMA inspected damage throughout the city and county in order to determine how much disaster relief may be needed for residents and businesses.

City and county officials added that beaches would remain closed to better facilitate beach cleaning and damage assessment. They asked the public to avoid the areas until further notice.

Pothole repairs in Corpus Christi will resume mid-week. However, they said, work orders can be submitted online to the Customer Call Center or call 361-826-2489. Crews normally assisted to pothole repairs have been temporarily reassigned to clear debris in roadways.

Several traffic signals will remain 4-way stops until power is restored to signals, and temporary stops signs will be placed in some locations.

City officials said small branches from trees can be placed in trash receptacles as long as the lids will close properly. The J.C. Elliott Collection Center has resumed normal operations, and residents are advised to drop off brush at the time of their neighborhood zone schedule. The center will offer extended hours this week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

City crews are also spraying standing water and ditches to kill off mosquitoes through July 31.

Later in the day, Abbott traveled to the Rio Grande Valley. He told reporters in Weslaco that he saw catastrophic agricultural losses during his tour.

He said he was thankful that the region also reported no deaths from the hurricane.

Abbott pledged to send more resources to the region to battle COVID-19 as the area recovers.

“We are opening up the McAllen Convention Center," he explained, "which will be converted into a health care facility. The maximum number of patients that it could be able to handle is 250 patients.”

The governor said additional border sites in Laredo, Pharr, Harlingen, and in Starr County will open for patients in advanced recovery stages known as “step down” sites.

Abbott added that the Department of Defense has dispatched more medical teams to the Coastal Bend and the Valley to assist hospitals.

The 85-member medical teams have been dispatched to Corpus Christi, Victoria, Harlingen, and Edinburg.

Abbott said Army reservists will also provide assistance to two hospitals in Harlingen.

The governor explained that he waived some trucking regulations so the delivery of electrical supplies is expedited to end power outages.

He said Cameron, Hidalgo and Starr counties will also receive assistance for more pumps to drain flooded areas and to spray for mosquitoes.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.

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