Tropical Storm Beta expected to hit Texas coast at hurricane strength by Monday – USA TODAY

With parts of the Alabama coast and Florida Panhandle still reeling from Hurricane Sally, a hurricane watch was in effect early Saturday for a 300-mile stretch of Texas coast as Tropical Storm Beta gathered strength in the Gulf of Mexico.

At least two deaths were blamed on Sally, which roared ashore on Wednesday morning, and hundreds of thousands of people were still without power early Saturday.

Beta, which is expected to reach hurricane strength by Sunday, is among three active storms in an exceptionally busy Atlantic hurricane season.

At 10 a.m. CDT, Beta was about 305 miles east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, moving northwest at 3 mph with sustained winds of 60 mph.

As the tropical storm pushed toward the Texas and Louisiana coast, the National Hurricane center issued a Hurricane Watch along a 285-mile stretch of coast from Port Aransas to High Island. The center said hurricane conditions were possible in the watch area by Monday night. 

A tropical storm warning was in effect from Port Aransas, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, and a storm surge watch was in effect from Port Mansfield, Texas to Cameron, Louisiana.

More:Florida deputy uses resident’s boat to save about 120 people trapped in Sally floodwaters

Storms Alpha and Beta form: Hurricane season 2020 has been so busy, we have to use Greek letters

Wind, heavy rainfall and life-threatening surf and rip current conditions were also expected with the storm.

As storms rapidly formed in the Atlantic this season, forecasters quickly ran out of their list of names and had to begin using the Greek alphabet to designate storms for only the second time since the 1950s.

Alpha was a post-tropical cyclone Friday night after bringing rain to Portugal. Tropical Storm Wilfred remained at sea but was 830 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds at 40 mph.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Teddy remained a powerful hurricane into Saturday, with maximum sustained winds at 130 mph. Teddy was centered 695 miles southeast of Bermuda less than a week after Hurricane Paulette made landfall in the wealthy British territory.

Large swells from Teddy were forecast to impact the Lesser Antilles, the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas, and later Saturday were to spread to Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast.

Areas along the Florida panhandle were still coping with the effects of Hurricane Sally. In Escambia county, where Pensacola is located, county administrator Janice Gilley said Friday that power outages were causing accidents on the roadways as drivers ignored four-way stop rules. “Please, please, please, do not be on the roads if it’s not an emergency, and you don’t have to,” she said.

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said people should only leave their homes to get fuel or food or if it is an emergency.

“If you’re out looking at damage and devastation, you are part of our problem right now,” Morgan said. “Stay at home unless you’re out getting food or gas for your generators and your vehicles. Stay at home. Do not leave unless it is an emergency situation, and in that case, call us. All of our ambulances and those sorts of things are up and running.”

Contributing: Jim Little, Pensacola News Journal; Associated Press

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