100 Motorists Rescued as Beta Swamps Houston

Storm has weakened to a tropical depression
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 22, 2020 5:33 PM CDT
Beta Threatens Major Flooding in Houston
A vehicle drives through floodwaters from Tropical Storm Beta Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Galveston, Texas.   (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Beta weakened to a tropical depression Tuesday as it parked itself over the Texas coast, raising concerns of extensive flooding in Houston and areas farther inland. Beta, which made landfall late Monday as a tropical storm just north of Port O’Connor, is the first storm named for a Greek letter to make landfall in the continental United States, the AP reports. Forecasters ran out of traditional storm names last week, forcing the use of the Greek alphabet for only the second time since the 1950s. By Tuesday afternoon, Beta was 40 miles north of Port O’Connor, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 30mph, the US National Hurricane Center said. The storm was moving east-northeast at 5mph and was expected to crawl inland along the coast over Texas through Wednesday.

The NHC said parts of the Houston area had seen up to 14 inches of rain by Tuesday afternoon. Street flooding was reported in parts of the Houston area. Fire Chief Samuel Peña said first responders had done nearly 100 water rescues on city roadways since Monday evening. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said there were preliminary reports of some home flooding along a creek south of Houston. Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged residents to stay home and off the roads. "Your sedan is not a submarine. Your minivan is not magical. So stay off the roads right now," Hidalgo said. “Your destination is not worth your life. It's not worth the life of the first responder that’s going to have to come and rescue you if you drive into high water and are stuck there."

(More tropical storms stories.)

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