Cone of Uncertainty for Beta

Tropical Storm Beta Likely to Dump 4-6 Inches on Harris County, 10-12 Inches Near Coast

Preparations for Prolonged Coastal Flooding and Potential Inland Rainfall Flooding Should Begin now for Tropical Storm Beta.

As of 4PM CDT Friday, the National Hurricane Center predicts that storm surge, tropical storm and/or hurricane watches will likely be required for portions of the western Gulf coast tonight or on Saturday.

Forecast Track

Tropical Storm Beta is moving toward the north-northeast near 9 mph (15 km/h). This general direction should last through Saturday. Late Saturday or Saturday night, the storm should begin a slow westward drift into early next week. After that, Beta should recurve to the northeast.

Cone of uncertainty for TS Beta. Every point within the cone has an equal chance of receiving a hit from the center of the storm.

Don’t Focus on Exact Track Yet

Do not focus on the exact forecast track for Tropical Storm Beta, especially at days 3 to 5, as a high degree of uncertainty remains.

Regardless the forecast track, the center of Beta will approach western coast of the Gulf of Mexico Sunday night and Monday. Even if we don’t take a direct hit from Beta…

…Houston will likely be on the wet/dirty side of the storm.

10-20% Chance of Tropical Storm Winds for Houston

The Houston Area currently has a 10-20% chance of receiving tropical-storm force winds starting Sunday.

Probability of Houston receiving winds greater than 40 mph is 10-20%.
Those winds could arrive as early as Sunday morning.

Maximum sustained winds have already increased to near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Beta could reach near hurricane strength Sunday or Sunday night. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km) from the center.

Key Messages

According to the National Hurricane Center:

  1. Beta should strengthen and possibly become a hurricane, while moving slowly over the western Gulf of Mexico during the next few days.
  2. There is an increasing risk of heavy rainfall and flooding along the northwest Gulf Coast Sunday through at least the middle of next week as Beta is forecast to move slowly toward and along or offshore of the coast through that time. For additional information, see products from your local National Weather Service office.
  3. Monitor the progress of this system and future updates.

Beta could affect the Houston Area much of next week.


Tides/Storm Surge: 

Strong ENE/E winds will push sea water toward the coast. Expect seas to build into the 8-15 foot range and waves to run up along the coast.

Expect at least 4.0-5.0 feet seas above the barnacle level. They could even reach near 6.0 feet. Impacts begin around 4.5 ft at several locations along the upper TX coast. 

Low lying roadways near the coast will likely flood at times of high tide and some locations could become isolated. Significant beach erosion is likely with elevated tides and large wave action lasting for several days and coastal infrastructure could be damaged. The expected tides on Sunday will likely be 1.5-2.5 feet higher than those experienced with Laura and Hanna.

DO NOT get caught off guard with the expected water level rise along the coast. Understand that low lying coastal roads may be inundated for a long period of time  


Squalls will increase in frequency and intensity into Sunday night and Monday and begin to spread farther inland. There will be a sharp cut off in the higher rainfall amounts from south to north over the area with amounts of 10-12 inches likely near the coast and even higher offshore. However, College Station will probably only see 1-3 inches.

Harris County Meteorologist Jeff Lindner predicts 4-6 inches over Harris County. 

These rainfall amounts will likely change


Tropical storm force winds could arrive by Sunday evening and slowly spread NE Monday and Tuesday. It is possible that some locations could see 24-48 hours of sustained tropical storm force winds with the slow movement of the system.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/18/2020 based on input from the National Hurricane Center and Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist

1116 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 365 Days after Tropical Storm Imelda