Tropical Storm Beta: Here's the impact Cameron Parish can expect weeks after Hurricane Laura

Leigh Guidry
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

As Cameron Parish fisherman gathered Saturday seeking food and much needed relief  from Hurricane Laura, the area once again fell under a tropical storm warning with the latest tropical system threatening flooding rain, storm surge and damaging winds.

Tropical Storm Beta's approach to the northwestern Gulf Coast triggered storm warnings from The National Weather Service. Cameron and Creole, where Laura made landfall just over three weeks ago with 150 mph winds as a Category 3 storm, again are included in a tropical storm warning, along with Grand Chenier. 

The latest hurricane center advisory brings Beta ashore along the central Texas coast, but the lopsided storm's eastern section with its most damaging winds and rain are expected to slam Cameron Parish.

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The Louisiana Sea Grant College Program visited Cameron on Saturday, under partly cloudy skies and gusty winds with Beta brewing just 220 miles south in the Gulf. Dozens of local residents showed up for the event, which featured meals, relief supplies and information about other relief available as they recover from Laura.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency set up its first mobile relief site last week in Cameron Parish to help residents pick up the pieces from Laura. 

Tropical Storm Beta threatens Cameron Parish with surge, flooding

Now they're facing Beta, the latest in a record-breaking hurricane season that already has used up all of the pre-approved storm names and now is tapping the Greek alphabet.

The storm, with 60 mph winds, started its turn west Saturday, but the rains are expected as early as Saturday evening. The area could experience peak winds of 35 mph to 45 mph, with gusts of 65 mph, starting Wednesday, the weather service said.

And through midweek, Cameron Parish could receive up to 10 inches of rain from Beta, with some locally heavy storms producing maybe twice that much, according to the National Weather Service in Lake Charles.

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Because conditions are still fragile in the area, "moderate rainfall flooding may prompt several evacuations and rescues," according to the weather service. "Rivers and tributaries may quickly become swollen with swifter currents and over spill their banks in a few places, especially in usually vulnerable spots."

Beta's flood waters also could enter some structures and weaken already frail foundations, the weather service said. 

Cameron Parish escape routes could be closed, washed out by TS Beta

"Several places may experience expanded areas of rapid inundation at underpasses, low-lying spots, and poor drainage areas," according to a special alert issued by the weather service. "Some streets and parking lots take on moving water as storm drains and retention ponds overflow."

Many of the more than 7,000 people who live in mostly rural, marshy Cameron Parish are not able to stay there now as structural recovery continues. But for those who are in the area, driving conditions likely will become hazardous, and some roads and bridges likely will be close, the weather service warns. 

Cameron Parish could experience up to a three-foot storm surge, a fraction of the nearly 10-foot surge Laura brought but damaging regardless in an area already storm weary.

Those surges, expected early in the week, will shut down or wash out some escape routes and secondary roads, the weather service warned.

Isolated tornadoes also are possible in Cameron Parish, the weather service said.

"Locations could realize roofs peeled off buildings, chimneys toppled, mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned, large tree tops and branches snapped off, shallow-rooted trees knocked over, moving vehicles blown off roads, and small boats pulled from moorings," according to the weather service advisory.