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Remnants Of Beta Move Out Of Texas, Leaving Behind Flooded Roadways

The remnants of Post-Tropical Cyclone Beta left a drenched but relieved Lone Star State behind on Wednesday. The system that forecasters had worried last week could grow into a hurricane and slam into the Corpus Christi region became little more than a heavy rainmaker for southeastern Texas.

On Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center issued its final advisory on Beta, essentially closing the books on the meteorological drama.

"The post-tropical cyclone is moving toward the east-northeast near 9 mph," the advisory explained, "and this motion is expected to continue through the day."

Steady weakening was expected though the rest of the week. On Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service canceled its flood warning for the Houston area.

"Rainfall totals of 3 to 5 inches are expected today into early Thursday across portions of Louisiana and central Mississippi," forecasters advised, "with isolated totals of 7 inches possible. Flash and urban flooding is likely, as well as isolated minor river flooding on smaller rivers."

Beta struck the Texas Gulf Coast Monday evening, making landfall near the southern end of Matagorda Peninsula. As predicted, it steadily weakened as it moved inland.

It posed serious flooding dangers to several communities as it moved closer to the Houston area. Houston Public Media reported some areas saw up to 18 inches of rain, and rescue crews were busy rescuing people from cars trapped on inundated roadways. Several buildings, including Harris County homes, were also damaged.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged residents to stay off the roads.

“You could possibly drown," he warned. "You could stall, and you're just gonna create problems for yourself, and then the first responders are gonna be out there doing our best to rescue you.”

HPM added that the Houston fire chief said teams conducted 60 rescues from stalled vehicles before noon, primarily because a bayou overflowed, spilling water onto a major highway.

On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration covering counties along the Gulf Coast as well as ones further inland, like Bexar and Travis.

Credit Fernando Ortiz Jr. | Texas Public Radio
A map from the 2005 hurricane season, which was the last season that letters from the Greek alphabet were needed to name tropical storms and hurricanes. That season included Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon and Zeta.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the NHC detected no other notable systems in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season saw so many named tropical storms and hurricanes that the NHC ran through its entire list of tropical cyclone names for this year.

It then turned to a second list of names -- letters from the Greek alphabet -- for more names. That had not happened since 2005. From now until the hurricane season ends on Nov. 30, future storm names will come from that second list.

A short-lived storm last week off the Portuguese coast was named Alpha. This week saw Beta. The next storms will be named Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu, Nu, Xi, Omicron, Pi, Rho, Sigma, Tau, Upsilon, Phi, Chi, Psi and Omega.

Houston Public Media's Matt Harab and the Texas Newsroom's Statewide Newscaster Sascha Cordner contributed to this report.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

Fernando Ortiz Jr. is TPR's editor.
As TPR's news director, Katz leads the organization’s news and journalism efforts, overseeing the newsroom’s day-to-day management and the development of a strategic vision for the news division. He also serves on the organization’s executive leadership team.