Tuesday, October 20, 2020
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Beta weakens to tropical depression as it crawls through Texas

Beta weakened to a tropical depression on Tuesday (September 22) as it crawled inland along the Texas coast south of Houston, unleashing heavy rains, flooding streets, and forcing emergency workers to rescue dozens of people.

Rain submerged roads in the nation’s fourth-most populous city, swamping cars, shutting school offices, courts and energy shipping ports. Flooding was heaviest in south Houston where tail lights blinked just above the water on streets and highways.

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena said there had been more than 60 rescues and evacuations of people in floods caused by Beta. Most of the rescues had been from vehicles stalled out on inundated streets, Pena said.

“Stay home,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Just stay home. That will help you and help us. Do not try to drive through this high water.”

The port of Houston began to reopen at noon to vessel traffic with some restrictions, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Images and videos posted on social media showed swollen bayous, with floodwaters claiming parts of highways and cars stranded.

(Production: Mariana Sandoval, Eleanor Whalley)

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