Texas has been hit by a serious storm at the same time as its coronavirus deaths have spiked.
Hurricane Hanna’s winds lashed the south Texas coast early Sunday, knocking out power to thousands.
Later in the day it was downgraded to a tropical storm that still threatened flash flooding in the area.
More than 283,104 homes and businesses were without electricity by mid-morning Sunday, according to poweroutage.us.
At 4am local time the storm’s top sustained winds were around 60 miles per hour (95 kph), the center said.
It is expected that Hanna could dump upward of 18 inches (45 cm) of rain in the area through Monday.
“This rain will produce, life-threatening flash flooding, rapid rises on small streams, and isolated minor to moderate river flooding,” the National Hurricane Center said.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Saturday that the storm was especially challenging as it was sweeping through an area of the state that has been the worst hit by the coronavirus.
He said: “Any hurricane is an enormous challenge.
“This challenge is complicated and made even more severe, seeing that it’s sweeping through an area that is the most challenged area in the state for Covid-19.”
The Texas area struck by Hanna has struggled to contain outbreaks of Covid-19 in recent weeks.
Cases along the state’s coast have soared into the tens of thousands.
More than 400 people in Corpus Christi were hospitalized with the illness on Friday, according to city data.
There have been 392,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Texas so far during the pandemic.
Just over 5,000 people have lost their lives, with a new daily high of 197 deaths coming on July 22.
Hanna was the opening hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic cyclone season.
Meteorologist Chris Birchfield warned residents to stay alert, saying: “We’re not even close to over at this point.
“We’re still expecting catastrophic flooding.”
Hurricane Hanna is the first Atlantic hurricane of the season, which usually runs between late June and October in the northern hemisphere.