BY: DANIEL MANZO, ABC NEWS
(NEW YORK) — Tropical Storm Marco has now strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane as warnings have been issued for parts of the Gulf Coast.
Marco is currently 325 miles south-southeast of southern Louisiana and the storm has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph while moving north-northwest at 14 mph.
Tropical Storm Laura has strengthened Sunday morning and now has winds of 50 mph. The storm is located 70 miles northwest of Port Au Prince, Haiti, and is bringing life-threatening flash flooding over portions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
The track of the storm has moved slightly westward from earlier in the morning. The National Hurricane Center is still forecasting that Laura will come ashore along the Gulf Coast as a Category 2 hurricane by later Wednesday and into Thursday.
There are tropical storm watches and warnings for parts of Hispaniola, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
There is also a tropical storm watch for the Florida Keys and the waters off southern mainland Florida.
Marco is expected to gain some strength today and then quickly move into the Gulf Coast — hurricane and storm surge warnings have been issued for parts of the coast.
As with all tropical systems, the area to the right of the center is where the greatest impacts will occur. Right now, the center of Marco looks to be coming ashore somewhere on the Gulf Coast from southern Louisiana to southern Mississippi, with the likely region being very close to New Orleans.
Marco is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane during the day on Monday and when Marco comes ashore it will have a storm surge of 2 to 6 feet, rainfall of up to 6 inches, possible tornadoes, and strong winds.
Laura will make its way into Cuba by tonight and move across Cuba overnight into Monday.
Locally, over 8 inches of rain, strong winds and dangerous surf is expected from Hispaniola to Cuba over the next 36 hours and this will likely cause flash flooding and mudslides.
The official forecast track shows Laura possibly reaching the southern Gulf of Mexico as Marco is making landfall on Monday.
The forecast after this point remains somewhat uncertain. However, in the overnight forecast models, there is increasing agreement in a strengthening hurricane Laura moving towards the U.S. Gulf Coast later this week and this has at least some potential to be a more impactful weather event later this week on the Gulf Coast.
It remains to be seen what the intensity of both storms will be, as well as their exact location as to whether this situation would break any tropical records.
The last time there were two tropical cyclones in the Gulf of Mexico was in 2002, where Tropical Storm Fay was off the Texas coast and Tropical Depression Eduoard was off the Florida West Coast.
The shortest time between two named storms making landfall in Louisiana was five days and that was back in 1885.
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