Beta forecast update

Tropical Storm Beta is now forecast to come in tonight and swing east. The current track calls for it to pass south of Wharton County.

With a shift to the south, Tropical Storm Beta is expected to make landfall around 7 p.m. tonight around Matagorda Island.

That’s a little bit of good news for Wharton County, according to Andy Kirkland, the Wharton County Emergency Management Coordinator.

“Right now it’s on a track that takes it up to Port Lavaca and then North of Palacios before heading to Galveston. That’s good for us,” he said.

The forecast could still change, however, before landfall is made.

“I don’t know if there will be a dirty side of the storm or not,” Kirkland said, adding that bands of dry air are affecting the storm’s circulation.

“Within 24 hours, it’s expected to be just north of Palacios,” he added.

So far, the storm has dropped just .74 inches of rain in the Garwood area, one inch in El Campo and 1.31 inches in Wharton.

But more is forecast, three to five inches across the region with isolated areas receiving far more. “Heavy rain is always a chance,” he said, adding isolated tornadoes are also a possibility.

Wharton County remains under a flash flood watch and a tropical storm warning.

Wind gusts in the area through Wednesday could be 35 to 45 mph.

One small bit of good news comes in the moisture already collected.

“With all this rain, the burn ban is off,” Kirkland said.

Look to the Leader-News for future updates online, on Facebook and for continuing coverage in the upcoming hard copy of Wednesday.

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