Tropical Storm Beta – September 20, 2020

Tropical Storm Beta continues to struggle as it works its way in a west-northwesterly direction toward Matagorda Bay. Based on the current forecast, TS Beta could make landfall near Matagorda Bay as a Tropical Storm on Monday night into Tuesday morning, before make a sharp turn to the northeast. At that time, TS Beta will continue on a slow path over the greater Houston area before making its way over central Louisiana Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Good news is that dry air and a southwesterly wind shear should keep TS Beta from significantly intensifying.  That being said, TS Beta will still bring Tropical Storm force winds to portions of SE Texas with the biggest threat being excessive rainfall and storm surge. The NWS has issued several warning along the Texas coast, including Flash Flood Watches for the majority of the greater Houston Area, including Fort Bend, Harris and Waller Counties.

The current Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) has portions of the lower Brazos River Watershed receiving 2 to 10 inches with areas south of I-10, including Fort Bend County, possibly receiving 6 to 10 inches of rainfall over the next 5 days. The majority of which could fall Monday through Tuesday. Although our drainage systems can typically handle these rainfall amounts over a few days, periods of intense rainfall could cause rapid rises in streets and smaller drainage facilities in portions of the watershed. This is all dependent on where the intense rainfall will occur. The current WGRFC forecasts do not account for rainfall beyond the next 24 hours; therefore, the current forecasts do not show any rises on the Brazos River. We could see a rise in the lower Brazos River Watershed, but at this time, our biggest threat are localized impacts due to high intense rainfall that could occur.

There is low confidence on where the most severe rainfall will occur, but the District’s Operator and Engineer are continually monitoring the conditions and are ready to respond as necessary. Currently, the internal lakes are at their normal operating level and levels on the Brazos River are low. We encourage everyone to stay informed by visiting your favorite local weather source, including the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center, and West Gulf River Forecast Center. If you have not ready done so, please remember to sign up for Emergency Updates from Fort Bend County.