Tropical Storm Beta, the 24th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, will continue to soak areas of the Gulf Coast this week.
Beta made landfall along the central Texas coast overnight. As of early Tuesday, it was centered just east of Victoria, Texas, producing sustained winds of 40 mph.
Monday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard placed the Port of Corpus Christi under port condition Zulu. This means inbound and outbound traffic has been suspended. The ports of Houston, Texas City, Victoria, Freeport and Galveston remain under port condition Zulu.
Loading and unloading of cargo, in addition to vessel movement within these ports, may also be restricted. This is up to each captain of the port (COTP).
According to its website, the Port of Corpus Christi is a leader in U.S. crude oil export ports and a major economic engine of Texas and the nation. It is the third-largest port in the United States in total revenue tonnage.
Tropical storm force winds will continue to blow Tuesday, but the torrential downpours will be more dangerous. Beta has also prompted flash flood warnings in the Houston area as heavy rain pushes inland. Portions of the central and upper Texas coasts, as well as areas just inland, could see storm totals of up to 20 inches through Wednesday.
The prolonged rainfall, plus a few feet of storm surge, will keep the threat of significant flash flooding in the region. Minor river flooding is also possible. Beta’s flooding won’t be as widespread or life-threatening as Hurricane Laura’s in Texas and southwestern Louisiana in late August. However, drivers may run into road closures on the Interstate 10 corridor, as well as secondary routes along the coast.
Beta will move into southern Louisiana and the lower Mississippi River Valley Wednesday night through Friday. These areas could also be hit with periods of flash flooding and road closures. The Coast Guard may set restrictions at some ports, but as of Tuesday morning all ports in Louisiana are open.