HOUSTON – Tropical Storm Beta stopped Tuesday off the Texas coast, flooding the streets of Houston and Galveston hours after making landfall amid an unusually busy hurricane season.
The eye of the meteor made landfall Monday night north of Port O’Connor, Texas, and is unique in that it is the first time a storm named after a Greek letter has made landfall on the continental United States. Meteorologists ran out of traditional storm names last week, forcing them to use the Greek alphabet for the second time since the 1950s.
As of Tuesday morning, the Beta vortex was 15 kilometers (10 miles) east-southeast of Victoria, Texas, with maximum winds of 64 km / h (40 mph), the National Hurricane Center said. The storm was moving northwest at about 4 km / h (about 3 mph) and was expected to stop inland over Texas through Wednesday.
“We currently have storm surge and rain right now,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Amaryllis Cotto in Galveston, Texas.
Cotto said 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain has fallen in the area, with isolated amounts of up to 18 inches (45 centimeters). Dangerous flash floods are expected through Wednesday, Cotto warned.
Beta was the ninth named storm to hit the continental US this year, equaling the 1916 record, according to Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University.
Beta was expected to move northeast along the Texas coast in the next few days, weakening into a depression by the time it reaches the Houston-Galveston area on Wednesday, before heading toward Louisiana sometime midweek. meteorologists claimed. There is potential for flash flooding in Arkansas and Mississippi as the system moves inland.
Forecasters warned of heavy rain Tuesday on Texas’ upper and middle coasts, which will trigger flash flooding.
Meteorologists and officials assured residents they do not anticipate Beta becoming another Hurricane Harvey or Tropical Storm Imelda. In 2017, Harvey dumped more than 50 inches (127 centimeters) of rain on Houston, causing damage valued at $ 125 billion. Imelda, which hit southeastern Texas last year, was one of the heaviest cyclones on record.
Forecasts call for storm surges of up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) in the Galveston and Beaumont areas through Wednesday morning.
In Galveston, an island city southeast of Houston, some of the streets were already flooded by surf Monday, which also caused part of a popular fishing pier to collapse.
Further south on the Texas coast, Maria Serrano Culpepper, along with her two daughters and dogs, left their home on Magnolia Beach near Matagorda Bay Sunday night.
Culpepper said she did not want to be trapped in her home, three blocks from the beach, with wind, rain and possibly no power. She and her family took refuge in a friend’s house in nearby Victoria.
Culpepper said his home should be fine, as it stands on stilts 13 feet above the ground and was built to withstand strong storms.
“I feel good now. I spent two nights without sleep because I was worried that (Beta) was a Category 1 hurricane. I calmed down when the storm lost steam, ”added Serrano Culpepper, who works as an engineer at a nearby chemical plant.
Meanwhile, parts of the Alabama coast and the Florida Panhandle continue to rebound from the effects of Hurricane Sally last week, which caused two deaths.
The eye of Hurricane Teddy was about 365 miles (590 kilometers) south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 km / h) early Tuesday. It is expected to weaken to a post-tropical cyclone before hitting Nova Scotia on Wednesday.