Gulf storm Beta projected to hit Laura-devastated parishes Thursday

S-shaped path along Texas coast makes storm hard to predict

Three tropical storms formed Friday, setting a new one-day record for the record-breaking 2020 hurricane season.

The tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico, which had been expected to become Tropical Storm Wilfred, was too slow to the naming party.

The last name of the season was bestowed on a tropical storm about midway between the coasts of Africa and South America at 11 a.m. Friday. It is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Sunday and break apart due to a storm's worst natural enemy, wind shear .

Tropical Storm Alpha formed briefly as it passed through Portugal at 12:30 p.m. Friday but had weakened by Saturday morning, when it exited into the Bay of Biscayne.

Meanwhile, the storm that forecasters were already getting ready to call "Wandering Wilfred" due to its expected slow walk around the southern regions of the Gulf, finally got up enough gumption to become Tropical Storm Beta at 5 p.m. Friday.

Elsewhere, Teddy is still heading towards Bermuda as a major Category 4 hurricane. It could be "only" a Cat 2 with 109 mph winds and 139 mph gusts when it arrives on Monday. There is news that Paulette -- the last windy visitor to that Atlantic island -- may be reforming way out in the Atlantic to cause problems for shipping lanes.

Beta is the 23rd Atlantic/Gulf storm of the season. The season with the most named storms is 2005 with 27 -- some say 28, counting an unnamed "storm" that lasted about a day that was discovered during a post-season analysis. That storm's remnants were absorbed by Vince.

Beta will reach hurricane status Monday and Tuesday as it approaches Corpus Christi before making another curve toward Louisiana on Wednesday. It is expected to weaken to a tropical storm at that point. Beta's curvy path makes it difficult to determine its impact. It could scrape the Gulf Coast or dip westward and make landfall sooner than currently projected -- which would be near the Texas-Louisiana border Thursday morning. It's current projected path would take it across Laura-devasted Southwest Louisiana, through Lafayette on Thursday night and then exiting the state as a tropical depression on Friday.

The storm could cause life-threatening surf and rip currents along the Texas coast this weekend. Storm surge watch was put into effect for Port Mansfield Island, Baffin Bay, Corpus Christi Bay, Coprano Bay, Aransas Bay, San Antonio Bay, Matagorda Bay and Galveston Bay. A hurricane watch was called for Port Aransas to High Island. A tropical storm watch is in effect from south of Port Aransas to the mouth of the Rio Grande and east of High Island to Morgan City.

The three storms in 24 hours beats the record set in August 1993 of three storms within a 30-hour period. The previous record was for Humberto, Iris and Jerry.

2005's Beta earned its name on Oct. 27, became a hurricane on Oct. 29, a Category 3 hurricane on Oct. 30 and was a Category 2 when it slammed into Nicaragua. It weakened as quickly as it strengthened, falling apart on Oct. 31. Beta 2005 killed nine people.

This year's Beta is six weeks earlier than 2005's.


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