'We didn't think it'd get this bad:' Corpus Christi responds to Hurricane Hanna damage

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Chris Corley waited patiently to get to his sailboat at Lawrence Street T-head on Sunday morning.

Corley, along with seven other sailors, were blocked off by Corpus Christi police as officials waited to assess the pier damage in the city’s downtown marina.

Saturday afternoon, both Lawrence and Peoples Street T-heads were inundated by the storm surge produced by Hurricane Hanna, which made landfall as a Category 1.

By Sunday, the flood waters had mostly receded back into Corpus Christi Bay and residents were able to make their way back onto many city streets.

“I am not too worried about my boat. I think it’s in pretty good shape,” Corley said. “But I do want to make sure the battery survived and everything else is fine down below.”

Hurricane Hanna made landfall at 5 p.m. Saturday at Padre Island and again in Kenedy with sustained winds of 90 mph. It was the first hurricane of the season.

By 1 a.m. Sunday, the hurricane had weakened into a tropical storm as it moved further west into northern Mexico. At 3 p.m., it had become a tropical depression.

The storm was expected to produce five to 10 inches of rain with isolated totals of 15 inches through Sunday evening in South Texas. 

The National Weather Service in Corpus Christi reported the storm produced about 2 to 3 inches in the Coastal Bend region by 6:50 a.m. Sunday.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms were predicted to be in the forecast all-day Sunday and on Monday. 

While the Corpus Christi-area dodged the hurricane’s heavier rain bands, and many residents and tourists took to the city’s streets once more, the storm still left significant flooding and damage in its path. Thousands were still without power late Sunday across South Texas as AEP Texas crews worked overtime to make repairs.

By Sunday mid-morning, North Beach was underwater. The Texas State Aquarium announced it would remain closed to the public until Tuesday as staffers worked to clean and make repairs.

In downtown Corpus Christi, debris left by palm trees and other fallen limbs were scattered across the roads and streets.

Pieces of wood and trash floated near the downtown seawall and along the city’s parks on Ocean Drive. Many visitors still walked along the marina snapping photos and taking video of the aftermath. Some stopped to pose in front of the Selena Quintanilla memorial statue too. The tribute to the Queen of Cumbia made it through the storm though heaps of debris floated nearby the popular attraction.

On Padre Island, Bob Hall Pier and Whitecap Beach were practically unrecognizable.

The 1, 240 sq. foot pier, which extends into the Gulf of Mexico, was stripped of its concrete walkway and its T-head lost to the storm’s surge.

Picnic tables and trash cans that floated into the surf Saturday as the storm approached were long gone. What remained was broken asphalt and debris brought in by the storm surge.

Officials taped off the pier and closed all of the city’s bays and beaches until further notice.

Harbor Del Sol Marina near Corpus Christi Bay also received heavy damage. One or two sailboats could be seen fully submerged. The marina’s piers that led to a row of sea vessels are gone.

In 2017 it was another storm – Hurricane Harvey – that wreaked havoc on the Coastal Bend as a Category 4.

“This was different from Harvey,” Corley said. “There was hardly any tidal surge during that storm, but it was definitely higher this time. We really didn’t expect this.”

Gilbert Landin, who is originally a San Antonio native, said he was concerned that one of his sailboats received some damage.

“This boat I have docked is one that I’ve been trying to put on the market. So, I am hoping it’s still in good shape,” Landin said.

When officials gave the sailors the all clear to check their vessels, the men and women made haste to their nearby boats.

Both Corley’s and Landin’s boats were safe from any damage. 

“We’re kind of lucky. I think everybody did their job and it looks like we all did very well. It’s kind of amazing,” Landin said. 

Landin said he has owned sailboats in the Corpus Christi downtown marina since 1980. 

“We didn’t think it was going to be this bad, but you just never know,” Landin said. “It’s one of those things where you think you’re all prepared, but keep your fingers cross and it keeps you up at night.

“It’s one of the many risks you take when you have a sailboat. I’m just glad we got lucky because there were others who had it a lot worse.”


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See more photos and video before, during and after the storm.


Live updates: Category 1 storm coverage in Corpus Christi-area

Hurricane Hanna makes two landfalls in South Texas. Here’s what we know

Hurricane Hanna hits Texas: See the storm track on this map

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