Beta touched down as a tropical storm, but has since been downgraded to a tropical depression

By Rachel DeSantis
September 22, 2020 02:53 PM
Tropical Depression Beta
| Credit: AP/Shutterstock

Tropical Depression Beta touched down in Texas Monday night as a tropical storm, marking the first time a Greek-named storm has ever made landfall in the continental United States.

Beta made landfall around 10 p.m. local time along the Matagorda Peninsula with sustained winds of 45 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

It was eventually downgraded to a tropical depression on Tuesday, but not before pummeling the area northeast of Victoria with 8-10 inches of rain.

Beta is weakening as it continues to move inland over Texas and onto Louisiana and Mississippi through the end of the week, but “significant flash and urban flooding” is still expected in parts of Texas, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Beta was the ninth named storm to make landfall in the continental U.S. this year, tying a record set in 1916, Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach told the Associated Press.

Flooded streets in Rockport, Texas
| Credit: Courtney Sacco/Caller-Times/USA Today Network/Sipa

Due to the large number of storms, forecasters ran out of names last week, and for just the second time since the 1950s, had to dip into the Greek alphabet, the outlet reported.

The National Weather Service said the last time the National Hurricane Center had to turn to the Greek alphabet was in 2005, and that Beta made history as the first Greek-named storm to make landfall in the U.S.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Beta left streets flooded in parts of the city, but that no buildings were reported flooded, the AP reported.

“It’s going to be moving very slowly heading east and until it clears and gets on the east side of Houston, we’re going to have to deal with these rain bands,” he said.

Meanwhile, Beta is headed for the same area of Louisiana that was slammed by Hurricane Laura just three weeks ago, damaging thousands of buildings and killing 27 people statewide, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.