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Norcross: Beta moves into Texas as we keep an eye on waters near Cuba

Satellite view of the tropics on Sept. 22, 2020.
Satellite view of the tropics on Sept. 22, 2020.

Tropical Storm Beta has slowed to a crawl again, this time just inland of the central Texas coast. The winds have slowly wound down — now just barely at tropical-storm strength. But the rounds of heavy rain with gusty winds will continue, especially in the Houston area, until what’s left of the storm oozes up the coast toward Louisiana and the Southeast.

Gulf water will overwash low-lying areas along the coast near Houston/Galveston until the center goes by and the wind switches to offshore. Storm surge in some spots could reach 2 to 4 feet above normal high tide.

By about Thursday, the circulation should be over the southeastern U.S., so the storm should slowly fade away, though a local flooding threat continues.

Tropical Storm Beta is bringing heavy rain and flooding.
Tropical Storm Beta is bringing heavy rain and flooding.

While Beta was slinging tropical moisture over Texas and Louisiana, a strong high-pressure system aided by Hurricane Teddy in the Atlantic pushed relatively cool and dry air across Florida. The leading edge of the northern air mass — the cold front — is now in the vicinity of Cuba where it will hang out for a couple of days.

An old front can sometimes act as a seed that can grow into an independent tropical disturbance, and so we’ll watch for that possibility.

When the front moves north on Thursday, enough of a disturbance might be left behind that a circulation can eventually develop. That system would likely move north with its own identity if it forms. All of this is a long shot at this point, but not impossible, so we’ll keep an eye on it toward the end of the week.

Hurricane Teddy is slowly transitioning into a huge winter-type North Atlantic storm. It is on track to impact Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in far-eastern Canada Wednesday and Thursday with winds near hurricane force and giant waves.

The energy Teddy is putting into the Atlantic is being felt up and down the U.S. East Coast. Storm-driven swells on top of the already-extra-high tides are causing flooding in low-lying areas along the coast and dangerous rip current. The intensity of the swells will slowly decrease late in the week as Teddy moves away.

On the other side of the ocean, Tropical Storm Paulette is back. It spent enough time over warm water to transition back into a tropical system. Paulette is forecast to meander around the eastern Atlantic for several days and eventually die out.

Elsewhere the Atlantic is quiet. Except for the very slight chance of a system near Cuba, no tropical development is expected into the weekend.


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