Abbott to assess Hanna damage Tuesday

Gov. Greg Abbott will be visiting the Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday to assess the aftermath of Hurricane Hanna in the area and work with local officials to strategize a recovery plan.

Abbott will be joined by Texas Department of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, as both will be in Corpus Christi on Tuesday morning and in Weslaco in the afternoon, where the governor will be hosting a news conference at the Texas Department of Public Safety Headquarters at 4 p.m.

“It is a tragedy what the Rio Grande Valley is experiencing right now, and so the governor wants to ensure that the needs of those in the Rio Grande Valley are being met,” John Wittman, Abbott’s spokesman, said. “And that is the purpose of this trip, to make sure that no needs go unmet.”

The Category 1 hurricane, which led Abbott to declaring a state of disaster on Saturday, brought severe flooding to a region already devastated by thousands of COVID-19 infections and hundreds of deaths.

The storm left whole neighborhoods flooded with as much as a foot of water, with mighty winds that ripped roofs off of many homes and businesses and tipped over at least nine 18-wheelers on Saturday.

Cities facing the brunt of heavy rainfall were Mission, McAllen, Edinburg, Weslaco, Sullivan City and Harlingen, with 10 and 13 inches recorded during Hanna’s downpour.

There are still communities, specifically in the Mid-Valley and in Edinburg, where floodwaters have not receded, and power has yet to be restored.

With regard to COVID-19’s impact on the Valley, it is unknown whether the governor will also be assessing the region’s hospitals, which have been overwhelmed with virus patients. This comes after Abbott decided against plans for a field hospital in the Valley earlier this month, but recently supported the return of a global humanitarian organization to evaluate the area’s needs to combat the virus.