PORT LAVACA – Hurricane Hanna caused severe flooding near Indianola as the storm approached the South Texas coast Saturday.

Roads were covered with water, cutting off the end of the peninsula, and flooding led some residents of one trailer park to pack up and head for higher ground.

Floodwaters caused an electrical fire that set the Indianola Fishing Marina ablaze and local residents said the flooding that had occurred by early Saturday afternoon was already more severe than the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Vicky Kepler of San Marcos, who owns the Bayside 316 RV park along North Ocean Drive near Indianola, was checking in with the park’s residents as the winds whipped palm fronds and waters rose around the trailers and her adjacent second home.

“I’ve dealt with this many times, but it’s never been quite this high,” Kepler said. “This storm surge is a little bit more this time.”

Hanna, a Category 1 Hurricane, made landfall on Padre Island at 5 p.m. with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi. Periods of heavy rain are expected to continue through Sunday. Because of the slow movement of Hanna, rainfall could be significant and life-threatening flooding may result, NWS said. Storm surge will be greatest south of Port Aransas where up to 6 feet of inundation is possible.

On Saturday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 32 counties including Calhoun, Goliad, Jackson, Refugio, Victoria and Wharton. Abbott activated search and rescue teams, emergency medical response systems and debris crews to respond to the storm.

Logan Toney of Monroe, LA, a seasonal construction worker at Formosa Plastics, packed up his trailer at Bayside 316 RV park around 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

“The water’s up a foot and a half and steadily rising,” Toney said. “I’m trying to find higher ground in Victoria.”

Jimmy Norman of Port O’Connor drove over to Indianola after he heard about the fire at the fishing marina, which started Saturday morning and caused severe damage to the marina’s roof and bait room, according to owner Brenda Henselka.

“It’s a cool place to go eat lunch,” Norman said. “They’ll build a new one.”

Norman said his home in Port Aransas was destroyed during Hurricane Harvey. Having seen the worst of the devastating 2017 storm, he was unfazed by Hanna despite the flooding along the Calhoun County coast.

“This is a piece of chicken compared to what I’m used to,” Norman said. “This hurricane has got 85 mile per hour winds. I can cough faster than that.”

Colton Smith of Granbury was fishing into the rising surf with a group of a half-dozen friends who had driven down from North Texas. Smith said he and his friends had been planning the trip for weeks and decided not to let Hanna cancel it. They had hooked several drum in the floodwaters by early afternoon.

“A Category 1 don’t stop us,” Smith said. “A Category 3, maybe.”

By 7:30 p.m., a fishing pier off N. Ocean Drive was demolished by the storm surge and asphalt from the roadway had washed onto the beach, according to Facebook posts.

Captain Jeremy Marek of the Port Lavaca fire department said there was some coastal flooding closer to the city, including at Lighthouse Beach, the Nautical Landing marine and the Harbor of Refuge southeast of downtown. The Six Mile Beach boat launch and pier at the west end of Lavaca Bay was closed because of high water levels, according to another Facebook post.

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Mark Rosenberg reports on rural community life for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. He can be reached at mrosenberg@vicad.com or 361-574-1264 or on Twitter at @markrosenberg32. To support local journalism at the Advocate through Report for America, go to VictoriaAdvocate.com/report.

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