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Tropical Storm Beta prompts hurricane watch for parts of Texas

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Tropical Storm Beta is churning in the Gulf of Mexico, prompting forecasters to issue a hurricane watch for a swathe of the Texas coast spanning from High Island to Port Aransas. The slow moving storm is expected to meander in the Gulf over the next few days.

The storm is the latest to form in a highly active Atlantic hurricane season – so active that forecasters have run out of traditional storm names and moved on to using the Greek alphabet to name new storms. This has only happened twice in history. 

On Friday, three new storms came to life in a single day: Wilfred – using the last of the traditional names – followed by Alpha and Beta.

"Three Atlantic named storms have formed today: September 18, 2020 - #Wilfred #Alpha #Beta. The only other time on record that the Atlantic had 3 named storm formations on the same calendar day was August 15, 1893," tweeted meteorologist Philip Klotzbach.

Beta was located about 235 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas, and about 325 miles east of Corpus Christi, Texas, as of Saturday night. It was blasting 60 mph winds and moving north-northeast at 2 mph.

"On the forecast track, the center of Beta will move toward the coast of Texas and potentially move inland late Monday or early Tuesday," the National Hurricane Center said. The NHC also said the storm is not expected to gain much strength over the next few days as it makes its way towards the Texas coast.

Beta prompted a storm surge watch for areas along the Texas and Louisiana coasts, as well as a tropical storm warning from Port Aransas, Texas, to Morgan City Louisiana. A hurricane watch was in effect from Port Aransas to High Island, Texas. A tropical storm watch was issued from south of Port Aransas to the Mouth of the Rio Grande.

The National Hurricane Center predicts up to 4 feet of storm surge. It warned of a possible "long-lived rainfall event along the western Gulf Coast" and said flash and urban flooding is likely.

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