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New Danger In Gulf Could Soon Grow Into Tropical Storm Beta

Tropical Depression Twenty Two was born off Mexico's Gulf coast on Thursday evening. National Hurricane Center forecasters warned the system could soon strengthen into Tropical Storm Beta and possibly achieve hurricane strength by Sunday.

"The depression is moving toward the north-northeast near 7 mph, and this general motion is expected through early Saturday," the NHC advisory explained. "A slow westward motion is forecast to begin late Saturday or Saturday night, and this motion will likely continue into early next week."

"Strengthening is forecast during the next few days," forecasters warned, "and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm later today. The system could be near or at hurricane strength by Sunday.

Once the depression grows into a tropical storm, the NHC will name it Beta. Wilfred, the last name on the NHC's 2020 list of "Tropical Cyclone Names," went to a system in the eastern Atlantic that achieved tropical storm strength earlier on Friday, and the name Alpha, the first Greek name, went to a subtropical storm that near the coast of Portugal.

The 2020 hurricane season has not seen this level of activity since 2005. From now until Nov. 30, any systems that emerge in the Atlantic, Gulf and Caribbean and achieve tropical storm or hurricane strength will receive names from the Greek alphabet.

It was not yet clear how the system could impact the Texas coast, aside from the expected higher surf and storm surge. On Friday morning, Cameron County tweeted that residents "may experience tropical storm conditions including significant rainfall over the weekend and into early next week."

The depression in the Gulf of Mexico emerged near the end of a historically busy week in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf regions.

Sally made a dangerously slow landfall near Gulf Shores, Ala., on Wednesday morning as a Category 2 hurricane, flooded several states throughout the southeastern U.S. and killed at least one person in Alabama.

By Thursday afternoon, the NHC had issued its final advisory on Sally -- essentially closing the books on the drama -- and officially classified it as a post-tropical depression. Sally's remnants were expected to continue flooding Georgia and the Carolinas.

NPR reported that Sally will remain notable because of its intense flooding -- measured in some places in feet rather than inches -- and because it surprised experts and residents both by growing quickly in the final moments before landfall and by its sudden shift to the east, from Louisiana to Alabama.

The NHC also monitored Teddy, which grew to a Category 4 hurricane on Thursday and threatened Bermuda.

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