SINTON – The day before Hurricane Hanna made landfall, the National Hurricane Center predicted it would land directly on Nueces and San Patricio Counties. Luckily for local residents, Hanna turned a little further south, keeping the destruction at a minimum in the area.
“Most of our damage was out on the east end in Portland, Ingleside on the Bay – that area down by the water,” San Patricio County Emergency Management Coordinator and Safety Director Sara Williams said. “But as far as people’s homes and businesses, I haven’t had a whole lot of people report to me. I haven’t even had 20 people report damage.”
Williams said the Emergency Management Department has been reaching out to residents to see if they have any sort of damages because that will determine if federal funds will be available.
As of now, the state is also trying to meet the threshold for public assistance, which is granted to local government entities and certain nonprofits. Texas needs about $38.5 million of uninsured losses from the public and is currently at about $4 million.
“We’ve been trying to get folks to reach out,” Williams said. I put up a post on Facebook to try and get folks to report damage to us but we just haven’t gotten much activity on it. I don’t know, if they just don’t realize that they need to tell us or there’s just not that much damage out there.”
Williams added that in order for the county to even get Small Business Administration (SBA) loans opened up, they have to have more than 25 structures severely damaged. During Hurricane Harvey there were more than 300 structure damages reported.
“So, right now if anybody has damages and they need help with anything, they can send the information to us and we can make sure that it gets forwarded to all the nonprofits,” she continued. “We have about 12 or so people that are saying they’re going to need help. We forwarded the information and it will go to those nonprofits and they can hopefully find somebody that has a program that can help some of these people that have any issues.
“And that’s really all we can do unless we have enough damage to warrant a disaster declaration from FEMA.”
While Hanna destroyed large portions of South Padre Island’s landmark Bob Hall Pier, which some think may need to be rebuilt completely, in the county it seems that Ingleside on the Bay (IOB) suffered the most issues with severe flooding throughout most of the small community.
Residents in the area have been dealing with flooding issues for years and most homes are on stilts. The community is so resiliant in IOB that the day after the hurricane, restaurants were reopened and live music played from outdoor patios near the marina.
In Portland, eager fishermen and women were at Indian Point Pier casting lines for days before the city sent an engineer out to survey it for damage, closing the pier. A statement read, “Our consulting engineers are reviewing the integrity of the pier to ensure no damage was caused by the high winds or large waves caused by Hurricane Hanna. Utilizing Indian Point Pier at this time is a major hazard to your health and safety.”
Taft lost power to its water plant but the sheriff’s department rushed in with a large generator and got the pumps flowing. Throughout the county power outages were reported but were not out for long.
“We got lucky that Hanna went as far south as it did,” Williams said. “It looked like we were going to be the bullseye there for a little bit.”
Williams also said that the radar showed some areas where there could be a possibility of tornadoes but there were no reports of any touching down.
“All I can say is that hurricane season isn’t over yet so we’re not out of the woods,” she added. “Everyone needs to remain vigilant and remember that this time of year, August and September, is when it heats up the most.”
Paul Gonzales is a reporter at The News of San Patricio and can be reached at 361-364-1270, or by email at email@example.com.