Tropical Storm Beta was looking almost certain to become the third named cyclonic storm to make hit the US Gulf Coast within a month and to be the ninth named storm to arrive on US shores this year.
Beta was hovering in US Gulf of Mexico waters on Sunday, September 20th. It was predicted to swing northwest and to make landfall as a tropical storm on Monday in the vicinity of Matagorda, Texas. It was then likely to move eastwards, slowly, past Houston, Beaumont and Lake Charles, all of which are major refining and petro-chemical centres.
The ports of Freeport, Galveston, Houston, Texas City, Beaumont, Sabine and Lake Charles have all been closed. Barge fleeting areas have been advised to double-up or triple their mooring lines in order to prevent breakaways.
Only a few production platforms in the GoM are currently shut. No anchored drill rigs have been evacuated and all DP-enabled rigs were on their well sites and operating as usual.