tropical storm beta

Beta Weakens to Tropical Depression, Still Producing Heavy Rain

The name, Beta, speaks to the high number of Atlantic and Gulf storms this year

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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. 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 30 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The storm was moving east-northeast at 5 mph and was expected to crawl inland along the coast over Texas through Wednesday.

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The National Hurricane Center said parts of the Houston area had seen up to 14 inches of rain by Tuesday afternoon. One area in Brazoria County, located south of Houston along the coast, got nearly 18 inches of rain in the last two days.

The storm will slowly move to the east of Houston by Wednesday afternoon. It will finally pick up some speed Thursday as it moves northeast across northern Mississippi and Alabama.

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The heaviest rain will fall along the path of Beta. Many locations from Southeast Texas into parts of Mississippi and Alabama will get an additional two to three inches of rain, with some spots receiving over five inches.

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DFW may have some drizzle overnight but the steady rain has ended. Clouds will be quite stubborn Wednesday, but as Beta moves away from Texas, sunshine will return Thursday.

Beta was the ninth named storm that made landfall in the continental U.S. this year. That tied a record set in 1916, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.

Beta was expected to move over Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi later in the week, bringing the risk of flash flooding.

However, 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, causing $125 billion in damage in Texas. Imelda, which hit Southeast Texas last year, was one of the wettest cyclones on record.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 29 Texas counties on Monday, ahead of Beta's arrival.

Beta was forecast to dump heavy rain on the southwestern corner of Louisiana three weeks after the same area got pounded by Hurricane Laura. The rainfall and storm surge prompted Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to declare a state of emergency.

Parts of the Alabama coast and Florida Panhandle were still reeling from Hurricane Sally, which roared ashore Sept. 16, causing at least two deaths.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Teddy was moving toward Canada, with a predicted landfall in Nova Scotia early Wednesday before heading into Newfoundland on Wednesday night, forecasters said. The large and powerful storm was causing dangerous rip currents along the U.S. East Coast, the hurricane center said.

Teddy was about 300 miles south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Tuesday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. It was expected to weaken through Wednesday, but forecasters said it would likely be a strong, post-tropical cyclone when it moves in and over Nova Scotia.

Paulette, which made landfall last week in Bermuda as a hurricane, regenerated near the Azores but was weakening Tuesday, the hurricane center said. Now a tropical storm, Paulette was expected to become a post-tropical remnant low in the next day or so.

The National Weather Service said on Twitter: "Because 2020, we now have Zombie Tropical Storms. Welcome back to the land of the living, Tropical Storm Paulette."

Copyright NBC 5 News and The Associated Press
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