Beta Weakens to Tropical Depression, Moves Inland


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The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm system known as Beta has been downgraded to a tropical depression but still threatens to dump heavy rain as it moves inland over Texas.

In its latest report Tuesday, the hurricane center says Beta was centered about 177 kilometers south, southwest of the city of Houston and its winds had diminished to about 55 kilometers per hour. It was moving to the northeast at about four kilometers per hour.

While tropical storm and surge warnings have been discontinued, forecasters say the system is still likely to drop 10 to 25 centimeters of rain over parts of Texas with isolated areas seeing as much as 50 centimeters. The cities of Houston and Galveston have reported flooding in streets and along coastal areas.

The hurricane center says the remnants of the storm are likely to pick up speed as it moves inland over southeastern Texas through Wednesday and then over Louisiana and Mississippi from Wednesday night through Friday.

Beta made landfall late Monday just north of Port O'Connor, Texas, becoming the ninth named storm that made landfall in the continental United States this year. That tied a record set in 1916.

Beta was named for the second letter in the Greek alphabet because the hurricane center had run out of conventional names for storms - the first time that has happened in 15 years, and only the second time since the 1950s.