Coastal communities began preparing over the weekend, with voluntary evacuation orders in the City of Galveston and Galveston County and the City of Seabrook.
Tropical Storm Beta was moving slowly toward the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, threatening downpours, floods and storm surge off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
Beta was one of three named storms in the Atlantic basin during an especially busy hurricane season. If the system makes landfall in Texas – something forecasters expected Monday – it would be the ninth named storm to make landfall in the United States in 2020. That would break a record set in 1916, according to hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.
Coastal communities began preparing for Beta over the weekend, with voluntary evacuation orders in the City of Galveston and Galveston County and the City of Seabrook.
Provisional Mayor Craig Brown said in a statement that high surf and up to 25 centimeters (10 inches) of rain floods several stretches of highway, leaving them impassable, especially in the west of the city and low areas.
During a news conference Saturday, County Judge Mark Henry said he was concerned that the storm would generate more flooding while a mandatory evacuation order is not expected to be issued.
“If they are able to survive in their homes for three to four days without electricity, which we’re not even sure is going to happen, so they’re fine, ” Henry said. “If it’s uncomfortable or they need life support equipment, maybe they should go somewhere else.”
Beta was moving through the Gulf of Mexico, 320 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Galveston, Texas, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday morning. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers (60 miles) per hour and was traveling west-northwest at 6 km / h (3 mph).
Little change in the strength of the storm was expected as it moved toward Texas. Previous predictions indicated that Beta could reach hurricane strength before making landfall.
There was a tropical storm watch from Port Aransas, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana.
In Lake Charles, Louisiana, where thousands of people remain without power more than three weeks after Hurricane Laura hit the coast, authorities feared that Beta could cause further showers in the region. It was anticipated that fall up to 15 centimeters (20 inches) of rain in parts of the area, Donald Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, said in a report.