Tropical Storm Beta is churning off the coast of Texas with winds of 60 mph as it takes aim for a potential landfall Monday night or Tuesday morning.
A storm surge warning is in place from Port Aransas, Texas, to Cameron Parish, Louisiana, where 2 to 4 feet of storm surge is possible.
Beta's slow moving approach is expected to produce rain over a long period, causing flash, urban and river flooding, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday night.
After the storm makes landfall along the Texas coast, it is forecast to head northeast across the Texas coastline into Louisiana.
Storm surge causing damage
Voluntary evacuations have been issued for several parts of Galveston County, including for residents west of the Galveston Seawall and Jamaica Beach, "which has already experienced some pretty significant flooding," Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said at a briefing Sunday.
Storm surge has flooded some roadways, leaving debris and causing closures in the Houston area. Several roads in Galveston were closed Sunday night due to high water, the Texas Department of Transportation Houston district said on Twitter.
"Crews are currently working to clear debris on SH 87 on the east end of Bolivar. We will continue to monitor conditions as we move into the overnight hours," the Houston district of the Texas Department of Transportation tweeted along with a photo of the roadway littered with debris Sunday.
National Weather Service Houston tweeted video of powerful waters tearing down a fishing pier Sunday night along with a warning that "conditions will only continue to deteriorate through the night."
High tide on Tuesday could bring "life-threatening storm surge" in areas of Texas and Louisiana, according to NHC.
"Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions," NHC said. "Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials."
The storm could also create tornadoes near the middle-to-upper Texas coast or the southwestern Louisiana coast, NHC said.
Officials and residents prepare for the storm
The Texas State Operations Center has been activated to Level II, or Escalated Response Conditions, and Gov. Greg Abbott warned residents to heed the advice of local officials.
"As Tropical Storm Beta approaches, I call on all Texans in the Gulf Coast region to heed the advice of local officials and take the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones out of harm's way," Abbott said in a news release issued Sunday.
"The State of Texas is prepared to support communities in the path of the storm, where substantial amounts of rainfall and flash flooding are a significant threat. We will continue to closely monitor the storm and work collaboratively with officials to ensure our fellow Texans are safe," Abbott said.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards also urged residents to get ready for the storm.
"Prepare for heavy rainfall and the threat of storm surge and flooding in certain regions of the state due to Tropical Storm Beta," Edwards said in a series of tweets Sunday.
"We understand that the threat of severe weather is even more of a risk in some areas at this time. We have started communication with our local partners as the storm approaches the state," he added.
Historically active hurricane season
Beta is the 23rd storm to be named in the 2020 Atlantic storm season. The average hurricane season produces 12 storms.
The hurricane center has started naming storms for the Greek alphabet, after using all 21 Atlantic hurricane names for only the second time in recorded history.
In 2005, the hurricane center had to use six letters of the Greek alphabet for a record number of storms.
The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30.