Tropical Storm Beta made landfall in the vicinity of the Matagorda Peninsula (Texas) at 22:00 (local time) on Monday, September 21. Beta was sustaining winds of 74kph (46mph) on landfall and has brought flash flooding in the middle and upper parts of Texas. Voluntary evacuations are currently in place in for several areas of Galveston county, where roads have been flooded by a storm surge. A number of roads in the vicinity of Houston have also been closed.
Beta is currently moving northeast along the Gulf Coast and is expected to continue to weaken as it moves inland over southeastern Texas over Wednesday, September 23, and then over Louisiana and Mississippi between Wednesday and Friday, September 25. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has warned that rainfall of up to 305mm (12in) and reach 508mm (20in) in isolated areas is possible over Tuesday, September 22.
The NHC maintains the following warnings:
- A storm surge warning for Sargent (Texas) to Sabine Pass (Texas-Louisiana), including Galveston Bay
- A tropical storm warning for Port Aransas (Texas) to Sabine Pass
Wind damage, widespread flooding, and dangerous sea conditions are expected during the passing of the storm, and significant disruptions to transportation, business, and utilities are likely in the coming days.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from late May through to the end of November, with activity typically peaking in late August and early September. Numerous tropical storms form in the Atlantic Ocean during this period, with most affecting the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the east coast of the United States. Although communities in the region are generally well prepared for adverse weather conditions during the hurricane season, severe storms bring a significant risk of flooding and infrastructural damage.
Organized tropical activity tends to peak in August and September. Storms tend to flood sections of highways and cause dirt-based roads to become temporarily impassable. More organized systems, depending on intensity, can prove catastrophic in terms of tidal surge, wind damage, flooding, and mudslides.
Those in the above areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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