Tropical Storm Beta expected to hit Texas coast Monday
Gulf storm Beta's curvy path is now expected to take it into Texas, between Corpus Christi and Galveston on late Monday or early Tuesday. As of 10 a.m. Sunday, the storm was about 180 miles from Galveston but only moving at about 3 mph.
Forecasters say Beta may not reach hurricane strength, but could bring heavy rains and flooding for several days, even away from the storm's center.
On its current projected path, Beta will be a tropical depression with 25 mph winds when it passes near Avoyelles Parish Thursday. The area could receive 2-4 inches of rain.
Those projections are subject to change due to several factors. Weather watchers hold out the possibility that Beta will not make landfall as expected and continue to hover in the Gulf. Even then, there will be heavy rains with a risk of flash flooding.
If Beta makes landfall, it would be the ninth tropical storm or hurricane to hit the United States this hurricane season.
There are wind, surge and heavy rainfall watches/warnings in effect along the coasts of Louisiana and Texas. Coastal residents have been urged to stock their emergency kits, refill prescriptions and monitor news sources for updates.
Meteorologists note that slow-moving storms, like Harvey in 2017 and the recent Sally, dump much more rain than storms that blow-and-go. Harvey spent days over East Texas and produced about 61 inches of rain. Sally dumped 40 inches of rain in the Pensacola area when it struck.
Current projections are that some coastal communities will receive up to 24 inches of rain from Beta. Rainfall of 8-16 inches is expected for much of the coast. Inland areas will receive 4-8 inches in the early days of the storm.
Those totals will increase if Beta stalls off the Texas coast. If it speeds up, the projected totals could be cut in half, but still pose flooding threats. There is also a threat of tornadoes coming out of the storm's outer bands to the northeast of its eye.
While it now appears the area that bore the brunt of Laura's wrath will be spared a direct hit, winds and rain from Beta are expected to hinder recovery efforts in that area.