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The National Hurricane Center reported Friday that a tropical depression in the Caribbean could threaten Texas as a tropical storm as early as Monday. Potentially more dangerous was Tropical Storm Laura, which could swirl into a hurricane and threaten Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana by Wednesday.
By Friday afternoon, the storm taking aim for Texas, officially designated as Tropical Depression Fourteen, was northeast of Honduras and moving northwest at 14 mph. The NHC measured sustained winds of 35 mph.
If the storm’s sustained winds exceed 39 mph, it will be renamed Tropical Storm Marco. Further strengthening was expected, NHC forecasters warned.
“The system is forecast to be near or at hurricane strength when it reaches the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico late Saturday,” forecasters explained. “Some weakening is expected as it moves over the Yucatan Peninsula Saturday night. Afterward, restrengthening is forecast on Sunday as it moves offshore and enters the southern Gulf of Mexico.”
Tropical storm force winds and heavy rainfall were expected to hit Nicaragua, Honduras and the Yucatán Peninsula this weekend.
The current track predicted the storm would make landfall near Houston by Tuesday morning. The coastal region and East Texas could see winds ranging from about 40 to 70 mph and potential flooding.
By Friday afternoon, Tropical Storm Laura was still east of the Leeward Islands, the necklace of islands in the eastern Caribbean, and moving west at 18 mph. Sustained winds were measured at 45 mph.
A tropical storm warning was issued for Puerto Rico and most of the other islands in the eastern Caribbean region.
If the sustained wind speed exceeds 74 mph, it will be classifed as a Category 1 hurricane. Forecasters believe that could happen as early as Tuesday morning, with landfall Wednesday morning near the Alabama-Florida border.
In the gathering dark…
— Tropical Nick Underwood (@TheAstroNick) August 21, 2020
NPR noted that the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has seen “named storms forming at a pace never seen before.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently warned that this year’s season could see twice the normal number of named storms.
This is a developing story and will be updated soon.
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