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Tropical Storm Beta: NHC update brings storm to southwest Louisiana next week

William Taylor Potter Joe Jacquez
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

The National Hurricane Center issued tropical storm warnings Saturday for Vermilion and Cameron parishes as Tropical Storm Beta threatened up to 10 inches of flooding rains in parts of southwest Louisiana still wrecked by Laura.

Beta is expected to continue strengthening, perhaps becoming a hurricane Sunday, the hurricane center said.

The slow-moving storm stalled Saturday after it started a slow turn west, and is expected to crawl Sunday westward toward the central Texas coast, where it is projected to make landfall Tuesday. The hurricane center projects a weakened Beta will take a northeastern path that would take it to southwest Louisiana by midweek.

Even with a Texas landfall, south Louisiana faces significant impact from Beta because the storm's worst rain and winds are far east of its circulation.

View Tropical Storm Beta on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020.

Rain totals up to 10 inches are possible into Vernon Parish, the Lake Charles area, Cameron and east into southern Vermilion Parish, said Donald Jones, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles.

While southwest Louisiana was placed under a tropical storm warning, Beta's impact is expected to be felt this weekend, Jones said. Occasional wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph are expected to continue into next week.

Flooding from heavy rain is possible across most of south Louisiana, the weather service said, with five to ten inches of rain expected, and higher in some areas. The timing of the heaviest rain is Sunday through Wednesday.

Storm surge of one to three feet above ground level is expected during high tides across the coast of Texas and Louisiana through the middle of next week.

The hurricane center's tropical storm warning covers Intracoastal City west to Port Aransas, Texas. 

Beta strengthened to 60 mph and started moving more north, with a westward track that began Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center's latest advisory.

Beta stalled Saturday after moving slowly at 2 mph earlier in the day, and is about 220 miles south of Cameron.

A slow west-northwestward motion is forecast to continue Sunday through late Monday. On the forecast track, the center of Beta will slowly approach the Texas coast into early next week.

More:Tropical Storm Beta: Here's the impact Cameron Parish can expect weeks after Hurricane Laura

The hurricane center issued a storm surge watch from Port Mansfield, Texas to Cameron, where Hurricane Laura made landfall last month. 

A tropical storm watch covers much of south Louisiana east to Morgan City. 

Around the time Beta is forecast to be near the Texas coastline, the hurricane center expects the storm to slow down more and to gradually turn to the northeast near the Texas coast by the middle of next week.

That movement would bring Beta closer to Louisiana, although the storm is expected to lose some strength as it moves close along the coastline. 

Previous coverage:Growing Gulf storm threatens surge, rain for southwest Louisiana

Will Beta's path go through Louisiana?:Track spaghetti models here.