Slow-moving Tropical Storm Beta will bring rain and flooding to Texas and Louisiana

Tropical Storm Beta Set to Hit Gulf Coast, Photo Date: Sep 20, 2020
By Robert Shackelford and Hollie Silverman, CNN

    (CNN) -- Tropical Storm Beta is churning off the coast of Texas with winds of 50 mph and is expected to bring tropical storm conditions, hours of rainfall and dangerous flooding to parts of the Gulf Coast on Monday.

A storm surge warning is in place in Texas for Port Aransas to Sabine Pass, including Copano Bay, Aransas Bay, San Antonio Bay, Matagorda Bay and Galveston Bay.

Beta's slow-moving approach is expected to produce rain over a long period, causing flash, urban and river flooding, the National Hurricane Center said Monday. Nearly 11 million people are under flash flood watches that cover all of the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

Beta will move toward the central coast of Texas later Monday and then will likely move inland by Monday night. The storm is then expected to decrease in speed and will take a sharp turn to the north-northeast on Tuesday.

Beta is expected to remain close to the coast of southeastern Texas on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The storm is then forecast to bring rain into the Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana area and into the Lower Mississippi Valley and parts of the Southeast later in the week.

Beta is the 23rd named storm of this record-breaking hurricane season. There have been so many named storms this year that the National Hurricane Center ran out of names and has begun using letters from the Greek alphabet.


Storm surge causing damage


Voluntary evacuations have been issued for several parts of Galveston County, including for residents west of the Galveston Seawall and Jamaica Beach, "which has already experienced some pretty significant flooding," Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said at a briefing Sunday.

Storm surge has flooded some roadways, leaving debris and causing closures in the Houston area. Several roads in Galveston were closed Sunday night due to high water, the Texas Department of Transportation Houston district said on Twitter.

"Crews are currently working to clear debris on SH 87 on the east end of Bolivar. We will continue to monitor conditions as we move into the overnight hours," the Houston district of the Texas Department of Transportation tweeted along with a photo of the roadway littered with debris Sunday.

National Weather Service Houston tweeted video of powerful waters tearing down a fishing pier Sunday night along with a warning that "conditions will only continue to deteriorate through the night."

High tide on Tuesday could bring "life-threatening storm surge" in areas of Texas and Louisiana, according to NHC.

"Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions," NHC said. "Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials."

The storm could also create tornadoes near the middle-to-upper Texas coast or the southwestern Louisiana coast, NHC said.


Officials and residents prepare for the storm


The Texas State Operations Center has been activated to Level II, or Escalated Response Conditions, and Gov. Greg Abbott warned residents to heed the advice of local officials.

"As Tropical Storm Beta approaches, I call on all Texans in the Gulf Coast region to heed the advice of local officials and take the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones out of harm's way," Abbott said in a news release issued Sunday.

"The State of Texas is prepared to support communities in the path of the storm, where substantial amounts of rainfall and flash flooding are a significant threat. We will continue to closely monitor the storm and work collaboratively with officials to ensure our fellow Texans are safe," Abbott said.

Galveston County Office of Emergency Management said in a tweet Sunday that it was pre-positioning rescue vehicles and other tools ahead of anticipated coastal flooding.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards also urged residents to get ready for the storm.

"Prepare for heavy rainfall and the threat of storm surge and flooding in certain regions of the state due to Tropical Storm Beta," Edwards said in a series of tweets Sunday.

"We understand that the threat of severe weather is even more of a risk in some areas at this time. We have started communication with our local partners as the storm approaches the state."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Share this article: