Texas in Crosshairs of ‘Strengthening’ Tropical Storm Beta Which Joins List of Storms Battering Gulf

Tropical Storm Beta is strengthening as it heads toward the Texas and Louisiana coast over the next few days, according to reports from the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The NHC is monitoring Beta. The storm is expected to be classified as a hurricane in the coming days, though it’s not yet certain just how strong it will be.

Beta has the potential to hit large areas along the Texas and Louisiana coasts, including those recently hit by Hurricane Laura. There is no indication yet where the storm will eventually end up.

Hurricane watches have been issued for some areas of east Texas, while tropical storm watches are in place for south Texas and portions of southern Louisiana.

Newsweek subscription offers >

Tropical Storm Beta was around 290 miles east of the Rio Grande as of Saturday morning and moving northward at 8 mph.

Beta currently boasts 60 mph winds and is predicted to come near to the Texas shore, or even make landfall in the state.

Tropical storm conditions may prevail through Sunday but Beta may intensify into a hurricane by late Sunday or early Monday, with the potential damage that entails to coastal communities.

As the storm is moving slowly, there is an increased likelihood of flood damage along the western Gulf Coast.

Newsweek subscription offers >

Heavy rainfall will contribute to the dangers of flooding and there is a risk of a storm surge as Beta advances toward the coast. There could be up to 10 inches of rain in some places along Texas’ east coast.

Tropical Storm Beta is just the latest storm heading toward the Gulf. Meteorologist Philip Klotzbach explained on Twitter that the number of storms forming in the Atlantic this year is a record high.

“Tropical Storm Beta has formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico – it is the 10th Atlantic named storm to form so far this month – the most on record for any September,” Klotzbach said. “Prior September record for Atlantic named storm formations was 8 set in 2002, 2007 and 2010.”

There is uncertainty about Beta’s direction and potential intensity, however. Tropical Storm Sally recently showed how much damage a slow-moving storm could do, leaving 550,000 people without power as it moved through Florida and Alabama.

“Catastrophic and life-threatening flooding continues over portions of the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama,” the National Hurricane Center said as recently September 17.

Flooding from Hurricane Sally in Florida
Vehicles are seen in a flooded street as Hurricane Sally passes through the area on September 16 in Pensacola, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

tinyurlis.gdv.gdv.htu.nuclck.ruulvis.nettny.im