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article imageTropical Storm Beta could be a hurricane as it nears Texas Coast

By Karen Graham     Sep 19, 2020 in Environment
As proof that this year's Atlantic Hurricane season is exceptionally busy, Tropical Storm Beta is churning in the western Gulf, close to the Texas coast. Beta is expected to become a hurricane by Sunday or Monday morning.
We have another slow-moving tropical storm to contend with. At the 10 a.m. CDT advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Beta was about 305 miles (495 km) east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas and 245 miles (395 km) south of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Beta is moving toward the northwest at an agonizingly slow 3 mph (6 kph). A slow westward motion is expected to begin later today, with a slow northwestward motion forecast to begin late Sunday or Sunday night and continue through late Monday. On the forecast track, the center of Beta will slowly approach the Texas coast into early next week.
Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 kph) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected today. After that, slow strengthening is forecast, and Beta is expected to be at or near hurricane strength Sunday night or Monday. The storm's minimum central pressure is 994 mb (29.36 inches).
"Tropical Storm Beta is a reminder that hurricane season is still in full swing," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a media release on Friday. "We will be monitoring this storm's development closely over the next few days as it continues to strengthen in the Gulf. Now is the time to prepare. Stock your emergency kit, refill prescriptions and monitor Houston OEM's channels for official updates."
As with Hurricane Harvey and more recently, Hurricane Sally - the slow-moving Beta is raising alarms with weather forecasters. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey dumped nearly 61 inches of rain over Eastern Texas as it hung around for several days. While Beta may not be as strong as Harvey, it still has the potential to be a real drencher.
"The slow movement of Beta means that it is going to fling large amounts of rain toward the coast for several days," explained AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio. "If this rain ends up being particularly persistent over a single area, it could cause serious flooding issues, even if the center of Beta is still well offshore."
Saturday morning heavy rain from Beta was already dousing parts of southeastern Louisiana, several hundred miles northeast of the center of the storm. "Any torrential rain could add to the flooding problems from Sally, which are still ramping up as runoff from urban and small streams works into the larger river systems in the Southeast," AccuWeather Meteorologist Courtney Travis said.
A storm surge watch has been issued for areas along the Texas and Louisiana coasts, as well as a tropical storm watch from south of Port Aransas, Texas, to the mouth of the Rio Grande, and from east of High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana. The NHC is predicting storm surge of up to 4 feet for coastal areas.
More about Tropical storm Beta, near hurricane strength, texas coast, four tropical cyclones, slowmoving
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