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

Published in 22 September, 2020

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.

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