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Homes Burning in California, Tens of Thousands Flee Rapidly Growing Wildfires Overnight

At a Glance

  • Two fast-growing fires broke out Sunday night in Sonoma County.

  • Firefighters continued to battle the growing Glass Fire in Napa County.

  • The Glass Fire has destroyed at least one winery.

  • The town of Paradise, destroyed by the Camp Fire in 2018, is threatened again.

About 4,500 residents of a senior living community were among thousands of Californians Monday driven from their homes by wildfires that exploded in size.

City buses from Santa Rosa, California, arrived at Oakmont Village about 1 a.m. Monday PDT to take the residents to safety, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Many of them were in their pajamas and robes as they shuffled toward the buses under a glowing orange sky amid falling ash.

“It was scary and I didn’t expect it to be so close,” Doris Tietze, 91, an Oakmont resident, told the Chronicle as embers hit the bus’ windshield.

They joined more than 6,800 other residents of Santa Rosa and surrounding unincorporated areas ordered to flee that blaze known as the Shady Fire.

The Shady Fire burning west of the city has already destroyed at least half a dozen homes, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reported. Homes were burning in the Skyhawk neighborhood in eastern Santa Rosa, the Chronicle said.

“We have way more homes to protect than engines to protect them,” Sonoma County Fire District Chief Mark Heine told the newspaper.

A second blaze in Sonoma County, the Boysen Fire, was burning just west of St. Helena, and it also forced officials to order evacuations. As the fires grew, officials closed two evacuation centers in Santa Rosa and opened others in Petaluma, the Press-Democrat reported.

Roadways clogged with traffic as people tried to reach a safe location.

The two fires began as firefighters continued to battle the Glass Fire, which was burning north of St. Helena to the east of Calistoga in Napa County. Heine said the two new fires may have been started by embers from the Glass Fire, which had grown to almost 4 square miles early Monday.

Napa County officials early Sunday had ordered thousands of residents to leave their homes. The Glass Fire also forced Adventist Health St. Helena to suspend hospital and emergency care and to transfer about 50 patients to other facilities. New evacuations continued to be ordered Monday morning as the fire spread and residents of Calistoga were warned to be ready to evacuate.

The area is home to more than five dozen wineries. Photos showed the Chateau Boswell Winery engulfed in flames.

The area, like much of Northern California, is under a red flag fire warning until Monday night because of weather conditions that include gusty winds, low humidity and high temperatures.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said more than 14,000 homes and businesses in Santa Rosa lost power, likely because of the fires. In Napa County, according to PG&E, at least 3,000 customers had no power because of the Glass Fire.

Zogg Fire
Strong winds caused a fire that began about 3 p.m. Sunday in Shasta County to spread quickly over more than 10 square miles.

The Zogg Fire in Igo, about 10 miles southwest of Redding, forced evacuations in Shasta County, and officials warned evacuations might be necessary in Trinity County.

Photos and videos on Twitter showed several homes burning along Platina Road in Igo and Ono.

Paradise Threatened Again
About 100 miles to the northeast of Napa, the town of Paradise and the nearby Magalia community were issued an evacuation warning, and the town of Concow was ordered to evacuate as the North Complex wildfire picked up again because of fast winds. Those three places were ravaged by the November 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.

The North Complex Fire, which started on Aug. 18, has burned more than 546 square miles and is 78% contained, according to Cal Fire.

California firefighters are battling at least 25 major wildfires across the state.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 8,000 wildfires have burned well over 5,625 square miles. Since August 15, the fires have killed 26 people and destroyed more than 7,000 structures.

Some of the heaviest so far has fallen in southern parts of the Houston metro. Rainfall totals of 6 to 11 inches have been measured in this area in the 24 hours ending 8 a.m. CDT Tuesday.

Several locations in the south Houston metro area are seeing road flooding this morning and travel should be avoided.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center has issued a high risk of excessive rainfall and flooding for Tuesday on the upper Texas coast, including Houston. This means there could be more significant flash flooding from heavy rainfall in this area today.

A “zombie” tropical storm? Yes Paulette is back because it’s 2020

A “zombie” tropical storm? Yes Paulette is back because it’s 2020

It seems that the chaos of a record hurricane season is not enough for 2020. Now we have “zombie” tropical storms to worry about, like Paulette.

The US National Weather Service mentioned this term that we hadn’t heard of yet … even though it’s 2020. The term “zombie tropical storms” appeared in an agency tweet on Tuesday.

“Since it’s 2020 we now have zombie tropical storms. Welcome back to the world of the living, Tropical Storm Paulette.

Paulette formed in early September . It was part of the five active tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean. This was the second time in history that so many storms existed simultaneously.

Paulette’s career

As a Category 1 hurricane, Paulette made landfall in Bermuda. Then, it was strengthened to category 2 over the island on September 14. Later, it lost speed and its status as a tropical storm, for which it was degraded to a low-pressure post-tropical system.

The system, formerly known as Paulette, was put to rest for five and a half days. That is, until this week.

Then Paulette regained strength and became a tropical storm again on Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Paulette reappeared that day about 482 kilometers off the coast of the Azores Islands.

These “zombie” tropical storms, like Paulette, are rare, but have happened before, according to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.

“Conditions can become hostile for a tropical storm to maintain its intensity. But, if it doesn’t completely dissipate, it can revive days later when conditions become more favorable, “explained Miller.

2020, a “good candidate” for tropical storms “zombies”
And with the apocalypse that has been 2020, this year is perfect for these eerie storms.

“2020 is a good candidate to experience a zombie storm because water temperatures are above average in most of the Atlantic Ocean. And obviously we are seeing a record number of storms, which increases the chances that some can regenerate, “said Miller.

If you’re wondering why the tropical storm wasn’t renamed Gamma, it’s because meteorologists were able to track the storm’s vortex.

We have had so many tropical storms this year that we have run out of names . So we started naming them after the letters of the Greek alphabet.

Tropical Storm Beta Floods Houston Area; Standing Water Closes Interstate, Highways

Tropical Storm Beta Floods Houston Area; Standing Water Closes Interstate, Highways

At a Glance

  • Parts of Interstate 69 and State Highway 288 were closed by flooding.

  • High water rescue teams responded to dozens of calls for help.

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued disaster declarations for 29 counties.

  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency.

Tropical Storm Beta, which made landfall late Monday in coastal Texas, covered streets throughout Houston with water and was causing flooding in parts of Louisiana battered last month by Hurricane Laura.

Beta was downgraded to a tropical depression as it slowly moved over the coast.

Cameron Parish, Louisiana, where Laura came ashore Aug. 27, was already seeing some impacts from Beta Tuesday afternoon.

“We definitely have some flooding in the low-lying southern parts of the parish,” Sheriff Ron Johnson told the Daily Advertiser. “No houses or structures have flooded, but some roads are impassable. It’s affecting us as to how we get where.”

People with campers were advised to leave. Overall, there weren’t many residents to evacuate since so many lost their homes to Laura, Johnson said.

Earlier in Houston, dozens of streets were closed by fast-rising water, including parts of Interstate 69 and Interstate 45 and State Highways 288 and 290. Officials urged residents to stay home and avoid driving if possible.

Beta was expected to drag along near the Texas Gulf Coast through Wednesday and then over Louisiana and Mississippi on Wednesday night through Friday. More than a foot of rain has already fallen in some areas and more is expected.

Drivers began abandoning cars that stalled in the high water on 288, according to KTRK.

Video from the area showed about a half dozen pickup trucks submerged in water with their doors open.

First responders conducted nearly 100 high-water rescues in Houston, the Houston Chronicle reported. Many were on the south side of the city near where Keegans Bayou overflowed its banks.

At a morning briefing, Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city had not received any reports of structural flooding.

“My hope is over the next 24 hours that will remain the case, but that will depend on Mother Nature,” Turner said.

The heavy rain began falling Monday night and quickly swamped parts of southwest Houston. Diners at one restaurant came out to find their cars underwater, KTRK reported. Employees of businesses in the area waded to an elevated freeway to call for rides home.

 

School districts across southeast Texas closed schools and pushed classes online or canceled them altogether.

The storm made landfall about 10 p.m. CDT Monday just north of Port O’Connor, Texas, on the southern end of the Matagorda Peninsula, about 110 miles southwest of Houston.

As the storm headed toward shore, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued a man onboard a disabled 20-foot vessel two miles south of the Port Aransas Jetties, east of Corpus Christi. The man was taken to the Mustang Beach Airport in Port Aransas.

 

Streets, cars and buildings were flooded in parts of coastal Texas, including Rockport, Corpus Christi, Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula.

Some subdivisions in Surfside Beach that flooded Sunday night were still under water Tuesday.

“We fared well, better than the night before,” Police Chief Gary Phillips told the Houston Chronicle. “The water is going down and we will be assessing the damage as soon as possible.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued disaster declarations for 29 counties Monday. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards also declared a state of emergency, saying those impacted last month by Hurricane Laura should remain especially vigilant.

Tropical Storm Beta to Crawl Near Texas Coast With a Threat of Flooding Rainfall, Including in Houston

Tropical Storm Beta to Crawl Near Texas Coast With a Threat of Flooding Rainfall, Including in Houston

At a Glance

  • Tropical Storm Beta made landfall on the middle Texas coast late Monday night.

  • Beta will track near or just inland from the Texas coast through Wednesday.

  • There is a high risk of excessive rainfall on the upper Texas coast on Tuesday, including Houston.

  • Beta could also produce locally heavy rain and flooding from Louisiana into the lower Mississippi Valley.

  • Coastal flooding from storm surge has already occurred and will continue on the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

Tropical Storm Beta will track near the Texas Gulf Coast through Wednesday, where it could produce significant flash flooding, including in the Houston metro area. Beta will also produce areas of lingering coastal flooding and gusty winds.

Happening Now
Beta remains a tropical storm and is moving slowly just inland from the middle Texas coast. The storm made landfall around 10 p.m. CDT on Monday night along the Matagorda Peninsula.

Bands of heavy rain and thunderstorms from Beta are spreading through the middle and upper Texas coastline this morning.

Some of the heaviest so far has fallen in southern parts of the Houston metro. Rainfall totals of 6 to 11 inches have been measured in this area in the 24 hours ending 8 a.m. CDT Tuesday.

Several locations in the south Houston metro area are seeing road flooding this morning and travel should be avoided.

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center has issued a high risk of excessive rainfall and flooding for Tuesday on the upper Texas coast, including Houston. This means there could be more significant flash flooding from heavy rainfall in this area today.

Forecast
Future Track, Intensity

Beta is forecast to move very slowly, or even stall, just inland from the middle Texas coast on Tuesday and Tuesday night.

By Wednesday, Beta should begin to move more northeastward near or just inland from the upper Texas coast as it weakens to a tropical depression. Beta should become a remnant low by Thursday as it moves into the lower Mississippi Valley.

Flooding Rainfall

Heavy rainfall and flooding will be the main threat from Beta going forward since the storm is moving slowly.

The heaviest rainfall totals will be on the middle and upper Texas coast, including parts of Houston. That’s where the National Hurricane Center predicts an additional 6 to 10 inches, with locally up to 20 inches of rainfall.

Significant flash flooding and urban flooding could occur in these areas through Tuesday.

There could be localized rainfall totals of 3 to 5 inches farther inland from the coast as far north and east as the ArkLaTex Region and the lower Mississippi Valley through the end of the week. This rainfall could produce localized flash flooding in these areas.

It’s important to note that not every location in the areas mentioned above will see rainfall amounts this high or flooding.

Flash flood watches have been issued by the National Weather Service from the middle Texas coast to southeast Louisiana, including Houston, Lake Charles and New Orleans.

Storm Surge

Coastal flooding from Beta’s storm surge has already occurred since Saturday along parts of the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

Water levels were running over 3 feet above normal on Tuesday morning at several tidal gauges on the upper Texas coast near Galveston Bay. That has resulted in moderate or major coastal flooding in some areas.

A storm surge between 3 to 4 feet was measured early Monday morning in many of the same locations. The gauges indicated that this amount of water rise resulted in major coastal flooding.

San Luis Pass, Texas, had a peak storm surge of 4.15 feet on Monday morning.

Modest surge flooding was also reported along Corpus Christi Bay, in Port O’Connor and southwest of Freeport, Texas, among other locations Monday.

There’s also been coastal flooding in Louisiana and Mississippi, reaching moderate levels in some areas, including near Lake Pontchartrain.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) notes that there is a danger of life-threatening storm surge near times of high tide through Tuesday morning in the storm surge warning area of Texas. Bouts of coastal flooding could persist through midweek at high tide as far east southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi as onshore winds persist there.

Here’s the current storm surge forecast from the NHC, if the peak surge occurs at times of high tide.

Winds

Tropical-storm-force wind gusts (39 mph or greater) could continue today in the tropical storm warning area, from Port Aransas, Texas, to Sabine Pass, Texas. The strongest winds will be in the offshore waters.

Tornadoes

A few tornadoes are also possible on the middle and upper Texas Coast and in southwest Louisiana through Tuesday.

Tropical Storm Beta Nearing Texas Coast With Threats of Flooding Rain, Storm Surge and Gusty Winds

Tropical Storm Beta Nearing Texas Coast With Threats of Flooding Rain, Storm Surge and Gusty Winds

At a Glance

  • Tropical Storm Beta is nearing the Texas Coast.

  • After landfall, Beta will drift northeastward on the Texas coast Monday night through Wednesday.

  • The storm will pose a threat of flooding rainfall, particularly in parts of Texas and Louisiana.

  • Coastal flooding from storm surge has already occurred on the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

  • Tropical-storm-force winds will affect parts of coastal Texas through Monday.

Tropical Storm Beta is nearing the northwest Gulf Coast and poses threats of flooding rainfall, storm surge and gusty winds to parts of Texas and Louisiana into midweek.

Current Alerts
A tropical storm warning is in effect from Port Aransas, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana, including Houston and Victoria, Texas, and Cameron, Louisiana. Tropical storm conditions (winds 39 mph or greater) will spread across southwestern Louisiana and coastal Texas through Monday.

A storm surge warning is also in effect from Port Aransas, Texas, to the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana, including Copano Bay, Aransas Bay, San Antonio Bay, Matagorda Bay, Galveston Bay, Sabine Lake and Lake Calcasieu

Happening Now
Beta is centered just over 100 miles south-southwest of Galveston, Texas, and is moving westward at over 5 mph. Maximum sustained winds in Beta are 50 mph.

Satellite imagery shows that Beta is not well organized this morning since it continues to battle dry air and unfavorable upper-level winds. However, the storm is still bringing several impacts.

Showers and thunderstorms from Beta are affecting parts of Louisiana and Texas right now.

Portions of the Texas and Louisiana coasts in the storm surge warning area have been experiencing coastal flooding at times of high tide since Saturday.

A storm surge between 3 to 4 feet has been measured early Monday morning at several tidal gauges on the upper Texas coast, including around Galveston Bay. The gauges indicated that this amount of water rise has resulted in major coastal flooding in some areas.

San Luis Pass, Texas, had a peak storm surge of 4.15 feet on Monday morning.

Beta’s occasional tropical-storm-force wind gusts have also reached parts of the upper and middle Texas coastline. Those winds are mostly located to the north of Beta’s circulation center, as depicted in the map below.

Forecast Track and Intensity
Beta is forecast to track steadily to the west through Monday night toward the middle Texas coastline.

The storm will continue to battle dry air and wind shear, which should prevent any major intensification from occurring before the storm makes landfall.

Landfall of Beta’s center on the Texas coast should occur sometime later Monday. However, impacts like rainfall, coastal flooding and gusty winds have arrived well in advance of that.

After Beta makes landfall, the system is expected to curl slowly north and then northeast near or inland from the Gulf Coast toward the lower Mississippi Valley as it weakens. That will result in bouts of heavy rainfall in some of the areas near and well east of its path into late week.

Forecast Impacts
Flooding Rainfall

Beta is a slow-moving storm, and that means it poses a threat of flooding rainfall.

(MORE: A Hurricane’s Forward Speeds Can Be As Important as Its Intensity)

Areas from southern Louisiana and the middle and upper Texas coast could see 5 to 10 inches of rainfall, with isolated totals up to 15 inches possible, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). There could be localized rainfall totals of 3 to 5 inches farther inland from the coast as far north and east as the ArkLaTex Region and the lower Mississippi Valley through the end of the week.

Flash flooding and urban flooding will impact some of these areas and there could river flooding as well, according to the NHC.

It’s important to note that not every location in the areas mentioned above will see rainfall amounts this high or flooding. The heaviest rainfall will be near where the storm’s circulation center tracks, and in bands well to its east.

Flash flood watches have been issued by the National Weather Service from the middle Texas coast to southern Louisiana, including Houston, Lake Charles and New Orleans.

Beta is not expected to produce rainfall that is anywhere comparable to Hurricane Harvey (2017) or Tropical Storm Imelda (2019).

Storm Surge

Coastal flooding from Beta’s storm surge has already occurred since Saturday along parts of the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) notes that there is a danger of life-threatening storm surge near times of high tide through Tuesday in the storm surge warning area of Texas and Louisiana. Bouts of coastal flooding could persist through midweek at high tide as far east southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi as onshore winds persist there.

Storm surge in combination with heavy rainfall could only worsen flooding near the coast early this week.

Here’s the current storm surge forecast from the NHC, if the peak surge occurs at times of high tide.

Winds

Tropical-storm-force winds are already occurring at times on the immediate Texas coast and will continue there through Tuesday.

Stronger gusts could trigger sporadic power outages and might down some trees, particularly in areas where the soil becomes saturated from heavy rainfall. Major wind damage is not expected from Beta.