Storm-tired Texas, Louisiana brace for beta approach


Tropical Storm Beta made its way to the coasts of Texas and Louisiana on Sunday, threatening to bring more rain, wind and stress to a part of the country that has already been unusually inundated and battered during the hurricane season. loaded this year.While Beta could bring up to 20 inches of rain to parts of Texas and Louisiana over the next few days, it is no longer expected to reach hurricane intensity, the U.S. National Weather Service said on Sunday. Beta was moving a little faster on Sunday afternoon and was about to make landfall along the central or upper coast of the Gulf of Texas late Monday evening, the National Hurricane Center said. It was then scheduled to move northeast along the coast and head to Louisiana in the middle of the week, with precipitation being its biggest threat.

Forecasters said Beta is not expected to bring the same amount of precipitation that Texas experienced during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 or Tropical Storm Imelda last year. Harvey poured over 50 inches of rain on Houston and caused $ 125 billion in damage to Texas. Imelda, which hit southeast Texas, was one of the wettest cyclones on record.

The first bands of Beta rain reached the Texas coast on Sunday, but the heaviest rains are not expected to arrive until Monday through Tuesday.

In low elevation Galveston, which has seen more than its share of tropical weather over the years, officials did not expect to issue a mandatory evacuation order, but advised people to have supplies ready. in case they have to stay at home for several days the roads are flooded. The coastal city located about 80 kilometers south of Houston could receive up to 38 centimeters of rain.

“We are not extremely worried,” Nancy Kitcheo, a resident of Galveston said Sunday. Kitcheo, 49, and his family had evacuated last month when forecasts suggested Hurricane Laura could make landfall near Galveston, but they plan to purchase supplies and wait until the beta is over. Laura ended up making landfall in neighboring Louisiana.

Kitcheo, whose home is more than five meters above the ground on stilts, said she expected her street to be impassable as water from rising tides was already inundating nearby roads on Sunday.

“It has certainly been more stressful this hurricane season,” she said.

Galveston, which has a population of about 50,000, was the site of the deadliest hurricane in US history, a 1900 storm that killed about 6,000 people. The city was also severely affected in 2008 by Hurricane Ike, which caused approximately US $ 30 billion in damage. Kitcheo’s old house was badly damaged during Ike’s and had to be demolished.

‘Be weather alert’

Beta was slowly crossing the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday afternoon about 225 kilometers south-southeast of Galveston, the US National Hurricane Center said. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 95 km / h and was moving west-northwest at 10 km / h.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said on Sunday that while Beta was not to bring rain like Harvey, he warned residents to “watch out for the weather.”

“Be aware of the weather as things can change. It’s 2020 and so we have to expect the unexpected, ”Turner said, adding that the city is expected to activate its emergency center on Monday.

In Victoria County, about 120 miles southwest of Houston, authorities have asked residents to prepare for rain of up to 25 to 38 centimeters.

“As with any event, panic is never helpful or necessary, but preparation is, and now is the time to finalize those plans,” said County Judge Ben Zeller, the county’s top elected official. from Victoria.

Beta is expected to dump heavy rain over the southwest corner of Louisiana three weeks after the same area was pounded by Hurricane Laura. More than 41,000 homes and businesses remain without power, and Beta could add to that figure by toppling trees left over from the previous storm, said meteorologist Donald Jones of the National Weather Service’s office in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Laura’s storm debris clogging drainage ditches in hard-hit areas like Lake Charles could increase the threat of flooding.

3 storms in the Atlantic

Beta was one of three named storms swirling through the Atlantic Basin during an unusually busy hurricane season. If the system makes landfall in Texas, it would be the ninth named storm to make landfall in the continental United States in 2020. This would equal a record set in 1916, according to Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher in the state of Colorado. .

Forecasters ran out of traditional storm names on Friday, forcing the use of the Greek alphabet for only the second time since the 1950s.

A stretch of the Gulf Coast from Port Aransas, Texas, approximately 265 kilometers southwest of Galveston, to Morgan City, Louisiana, 128 kilometers west of New Orleans, was under a warning from tropical storm Sunday.

Meanwhile, Teddy remained a strong hurricane on Sunday, with maximum sustained winds of 165 km / h and moving north-northwest at 14 km / h. Teddy was centered 394 kilometers south-southeast of Bermuda less than a week after Hurricane Paulette made landfall in rich British territory. A tropical storm warning was in effect in Bermuda.

Wilfred, which had been a tropical storm, weakened to a tropical depression earlier Sunday. It was still at sea but was due to dissipate on Tuesday.

Parts of the Alabama coast and the Florida Panhandle were still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Sally, which roared ashore on Wednesday. At least two deaths have been attributed to the system.


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