Tropical Storm Beta has made landfall on the coast of Texas.
The storm made landfall about five miles north of Port O’Connor, Texas, with maximum winds of 45mph, the US National Hurricane Centre said. Its winds weakened as it made its way to shore over several days. Beta has become the ninth named storm to make landfall in the continental US this year. That tied a record set in 1916, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.
This was the first time a Greek letter named storm has made landfall in the continental US. Forecasters ran out of traditional storm names on Friday, forcing the use of the Greek alphabet for only the second time since the 1950s.
The biggest unknown from Beta is how much rainfall it could produce in areas that have already seen their share of damaging weather during a busy hurricane season.Tropical Storm Beta has made landfall in Texas (Marie D De Jesus/Houston Chronicle via AP)
“This still is probably the most uncertain part of the forecast,” said Dan Reilly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Houston-Galveston office.
Earlier predictions of up to 20 inches in some areas were downgraded on Monday to up to 15 inches. Texas coastal counties were most likely to see four to six inches with two to four inches further inland, Mr Reilly said. Rain had already fallen in Houston and other areas down the Texas coast on Monday before Beta came ashore. Forecasters and officials reassured residents that Beta was not expected to be another Hurricane Harvey or Tropical Storm Imelda. Harvey in 2017 dumped more than 50 inches of rain on Houston. Imelda, which hit south-east Texas last year, was one of the wettest cyclones on record.
Beta is expected to move north-east along the Texas coast over the next couple of days, weakening into a depression by the time it gets to the Houston-Galveston area on Wednesday before heading into Louisiana sometime mid-week, forecasters said. Flash flooding was possible in Arkansas and Mississippi as the system moves further inland.
In Galveston, an island city south-east of Houston, there was already some street flooding from rising tides and part of a popular fishing pier collapsed due to strong waves.