Marco weakens to tropical depression along Louisiana coast

Marco weakens to tropical depression along Louisiana coast

Tropical Storm Laura is bringing heavy rainfall and life-threatening flash flooding over portions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the National Hurricane Center said.

It was forecast to move over Cuba on Sunday night or Monday.

Laura is moving toward the west near 21 miles per hour (33 km/h) and a generally west-northwestward motion is expected over the next few days. Laura formed Friday in the eastern Caribbean and forecasters said it poses a potential hurricane threat to Florida and the U.S. Gulf Coast. Both Marco and Laura are expected to become at least Category 1 hurricanes on the five-step Saffir Simpson scale later this week.

The 11:00 AM advisory has Tropical Storm Laura with maximum sustained winds up to 40 miles per hour and is moving west at 18 miles per hour. Marco is smaller and coming from the south, while Laura, with the potential to be even stronger, approaches out of the Caribbean.

Back-to-back storms are rolling toward the U.S. Gulf Coast where they'll come ashore in days as hurricanes, prompting evacuations of off-shore energy platforms and setting residents and officials on edge from Texas to Florida.

Marco will strike Monday, likely in southern Louisiana, followed by Laura on Thursday in roughly the same area, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

It seems fitting for 2020 to have this type of twin threats, said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

"This is unlike anything we have seen, with two hurricanes expected to impact our state almost back to back". "It's best not to ask what's next".

Laura was forecast to hit Puerto Rico on Saturday morning, go near the Dominican Republic and Haiti late Saturday and Cuba on Sunday. It is forecast to hit the U.S. Gulf Coast on Wednesday, NHC projections show.

When Laura reaches the Gulf of Mexico, it may strengthen, Cline said.

With competing scenarios, the hurricane center is forecasting a middle range for Laura of a weak hurricane heading into the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Tourists staying in hotels should be aware of hazardous weather conditions and consider altering their plans starting on Sunday, Monroe County officials said in a news release.

Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana on Saturday requested a federal emergency declaration from the White House, as he warned that Marco and Laura were forecast to affect the state in quick sequence.

"Everybody in coastal Louisiana needs to be paying attention to these storms", he said.

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