With Tropical Storm Beta becoming better organized in the Gulf of Mexico, hurricane-related advisories are being issued for portions of the Gulf coast already battered by numerous tropical cyclones this season.
In the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Beta is roughly 305 miles east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas and is about 245 miles south of Lake Charles, Louisiana. With a minimum central pressure of 994 mb or 29.36 inches and maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, Beta is moving slowly to the west at 2 mph.
Due to the general motion and intensity of the storm, a Storm Surge Watch has been issued from Port Mansfield, Texas to Cameron, LA including Baffin Bay, Corpus Christi Bay, Copano Bay, Aransas Bay, San Antonio Bay, Matagorda Bay, Galveston Bay, Sabine Lake and Calcasieu Lake. A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline within the next 48 hours.
A Hurricane Watch is in effect from Port Aransas, Texas to High Island, Texas. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Port Aransas, Texas to Intracoastal City, Louisiana. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 36 hours.
Lastly, a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the area south of Port Aransas, Texas to the Mouth of the Rio Grande River and also for the area east of Intracoastal City, Louisiana to Morgan City, Louisiana. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
According to the National Hurricane Center, a Hurricane Warning may be required for portions of the Texas coast later today or tonight.
For now, Beta is continuing its slow drift to the west and that drift should continue into tomorrow. According to the National Hurricane Center, a slow northwestward motion is forecast to begin late Sunday or Sunday night and continue through late Monday. On the forecast track, the center of Beta will slowly approach the Texas coast into early next week. While it drifts in the western Gulf of Mexico, Beta is expected to gain some strength. By Sunday night or Monday, Beta should be near hurricane strength.
Beta will bring damaging winds, isolated tornadoes, rough surf, life-threatening storm surge, and flooding rains to the Gulf coast. The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water could reach 2-4′ in some locations; a more refined storm surge forecast will be made prior to landfall. Beyond coastal inundation of salt water, Beta will soak the region with fresh water rainfall. The storm has the potential to produce a long-lived rainfall event along the western Gulf Coast. Today through Tuesday, Beta is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches with isolated totals of 10 inches beginning Saturday across southern Louisiana and spreading into coastal Texas on Sunday. Flash and urban flooding is likely as well as minor river flooding. Additional heavy rainfall amounts across the western Gulf Coast are possible through late week as Beta is expected to move slowly near the Texas coast. Before Beta exits the area, rainfall totals could be measured in feet rather than inches.