Tropical Storm Beta

City of Victoria crews respond to a fallen tree Tuesday. The tree had fallen as a result of Tropical Storm Beta.

The impact that Tropical Storm Beta had on the Victoria area was clear to many residents upon waking up Tuesday.

“We’re doing damage assessment to make sure infrastructure is up and running, but right now, it looks as though both the city and county fared really well,” said Rick McBrayer, Victoria’s emergency management coordinator.

Nevertheless, county employees visited “well over” 100 homes Tuesday morning to help clear fallen tree limbs and debris, McBrayer said. Even more homes had last power, and several roads were flooded from the rain.

The storm, which has since been downgraded to a tropical depression, made landfall about 10 p.m. Monday along the southern end of Matagorda Bay and continued northeast along the Texas coast on Tuesday.

In the Victoria area, there were some flooded roadways from the rain and a few road closures, McBrayer said. But by late morning, most areas were open as usual.

“It was nothing much more than that, so the issues have been fairly quick to mitigate,” McBrayer said.

In the county, areas around Inez and Telferner appeared to receive the most rainfall, McBrayer said.

Additionally, the storm caused about 730 American Electric Power Texas customers to lose power throughout Victoria, El Campo, Port Lavaca and the surrounding areas, the company said in a news release.

Still, wind speeds in the area weren’t as intense as expected, which helped keep the damage to a minimum, McBrayer said.

The peak was a 52 mph wind gust reported about 3:30 a.m. in Victoria, according to the National Weather Service.

Despite the weather, no emergency shelters were opened for people experiencing homelessness, McBrayer said. Emergency management staff instead relied on local nonprofits which “had their doors open and filled that need for the community,” he said.

Kim Pickens, a Victoria advocate for the homeless, said Tuesday she understands officials must make decisions quickly and efficiently during an emergency, but “nonprofits can only do so much.”

“We need to find a way to incorporate those who are unhoused in our emergency management plans,” she said.

All tropical storm and storm surge warnings that were in place across South Texas were discontinued Tuesday after the National Weather Service confirmed the worst of the depression had passed from the area, McBrayer said. To that end, city and county operations, as well as Victoria schools and several businesses that were closed Monday, reopened to normal operations Tuesday.

Stephanie Tello, who works at Texian Books and Bethune & Son downtown, said the owner of the businesses decided to close Monday for the safety of customers but felt comfortable reopening Tuesday after seeing that the storm’s effects were minimal.

“We closed for peace of mind and wanting to keep customers safe,” Tello said. “Thankfully, we could tell this morning that the rain wasn’t as bad as anticipated, so we thought it was safe and manageable to reopen.”

As of Tuesday morning, the depression was expected to move slowly and weaken over the next 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service. The storm should reach Louisiana on Wednesday.

Though the impact of the storm wasn’t too severe in Victoria, residents should take the time to ensure they have supplies, have a plan and stay informed for any future storm or hurricane, McBrayer said.

“We are still in the height of hurricane season, and we cannot let our guard down,” he said.

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Morgan Theophil covers local government for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6511, mtheophil@vicad.com or on Twitter

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Local Government Reporter

Morgan Theophil covers local government for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6511, mtheophil@vicad.com or on Twitter.

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