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Coast Battens Down Ahead of New Storm

Beta closes in on Texas and Louisiana
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 20, 2020 12:40 PM CDT
Coast Battens Down Ahead of New Storm
Waves crash as Houston resident Tinh Pham fishes Saturday from the rocks at Diamond Beach on the west end of the Galveston Seawall in Galveston, Texas.   (Stuart Villanueva/The Galveston County Daily News via AP)

Tropical Storm Beta on Sunday was making a slow crawl toward the shores of Texas and Louisiana, stirring worries about heavy rain, flooding, and storm surge across the Gulf Coast. Beta was one of three named storms whirling in the Atlantic basin during an exceptionally busy hurricane season, the AP reports. If the system makes landfall in Texas—which forecasters predict it will Monday—it would be the ninth named storm to make landfall in the continental US in 2020. That would tie a record set in 1916, according to a Colorado State hurricane researcher. Coastal communities began preparing for Beta over the weekend, with the Texas city of Galveston and surrounding Galveston County issuing voluntary evacuation orders on Saturday. Seabrook, north of Galveston, issued its own order.

A Galveston official said in a statement that high tides and up to 10 inches of expected rainfall would leave roads impassable. "If you can survive in your home for three or four days without power and electricity, which we're not even sure that's going to happen, you're OK," said a Galveston County official. Beta was churning slowly through the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday morning about 200 miles southeast of Galveston, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm was moving west-northwest at 3mph with maximum sustained winds of 60mph. In Lake Charles, Louisiana, where thousands of people remained without power more than three weeks after Hurricane Laura hit, there were concerns Beta could soak the region again. Up to 20 inches of rain could fall in some parts. (Storms are being given Greek names now.)

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