The official drought is expected to be very late Monday or early Tuesday, but Texans must prepare for tropical storms late Sunday through early Monday.
Beta is already introducing tropical storm conditions in parts of the southwest coast of Louisiana.
A storm warning is also in effect from Port Aransas, Texas, to the Rockefeller Wildlife Sanctuary in Louisiana, where a 2 to 4 foot storm is possible.
Flooding can occur with a little warning
Louisiana Gov. John Bell Edwards has called on residents to prepare for the storm.
The Texas State Operations Center has been activated to level II or escalated response conditions, and Gov. Greg Abbott has warned residents to heed the advice of local officials.
Texas officials warn that rainfall, floods and isolated tornadoes may occur with little or no warning.
“We will continue to monitor the storm closely and work with officials to ensure that our Texas counterparts are safe,” Abbott said.
A total of 8 to 12 inches of heavy rain is forecast, and individual rainfall of up to 20 inches is possible from mid-Texas to southern Louisiana until Thursday.
In Galveston, Texas, the worst flooding could come on Monday morning, a tide, officials said.
“Exactly around 6 a.m., we will see a combination of waves, a combination of freshwater rain and a combination of tides that can take us up to three to four feet above the road,” Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said in a briefing Sunday.
But it’s not expected to be life-threatening, Henry said, just “terribly uncomfortable.”
Voluntary evacuations have been issued for several parts of the county, including residents west of the Galveston coast and Jamaica beach, “which has already experienced quite significant flooding,” Henry said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city will monitor the storm system “very closely” and what happens on Monday will determine what residents’ employees recommend, although that could change overnight.
“Whether we ask people to stay home, whether the testing centers close or not, it will be based on what we see and what they tell us tomorrow,” Turner said.
“But for now, tomorrow we will move on to, say, a normal work schedule,” he added. “But again, things can happen overnight and change that assessment.”
The previously released hurricane clock has been discontinued, but Beta walks at a dangerously slow 6 mph west-northwest after slowing to 12 mph on Saturday morning.
The storm maintained winds of 60 miles per hour, about 120 miles southeast of Galveston, and the hurricane center’s reconnaissance planes found no change in strength.
But at such a slow pace, the storm is still dangerous.
Beta is battling a large amount of shear and dry air in the Gulf of Mexico, which prevents the intensity of the storm from increasing.
The presence of a high shear environment prevents the storm from intensifying. The low-shear atmospheric environment is favorable for the tropical system to develop further and strengthen.
The shear also makes the storm very asymmetrical, with most of the rain and strongest winds located north and northeast of the center.
Historic season of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean
Beta is named after the second letter of the Greek alphabet.
Alpha was christened on Friday, and a few hours later in the Gulf of Mexico it was called Tropical Storm Beta.
The other time was in 2005, when the season caused so many storms that it exhausted the list of the season with 21 names.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially lasts from June 1 to November 30. With the remaining two months of 2020, it can easily surpass the record set in 2005.
The season has produced almost twice the average number of storms with 23 so far. The average hurricane season produces 12.