Tropical Storm Laura's track shifts more to the west, while Marco takes aim at Louisiana

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Marco is already in the Gulf of Mexico. Laura will be there soon. The center of Laura’s cone is now on the Louisiana-Texas border

HOUSTON — There are two tropical storms that the National Hurricane Center is keeping a very close eye on — Tropical Storm Marco and Tropical Storm Laura. Both are expected to become hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Sunday, the track for Marco moved slightly to the west, with a significant impact expected for New Orleans Monday. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for coastal Louisiana.

Marco is nearing hurricane strength as it crosses the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. It has maximum sustained winds of 70 miles an hour. Once it reaches 74 miles per hour, it will be a Category 1 hurricane.

Meanwhile, Laura has shifted a little to the west and more of Houston is in the cone. The center of the cone is on the Louisiana-Texas border. We will have to watch this storm very closely as it moves into the Gulf and gains strength. 

RELATED: Tropical Storm Marco and Tropical Storm Laura: Spaghetti models and track

RELATED: What is storm surge and why is it so dangerous?

Below are updates on both of the storms.

Tropical Storm Laura moves further west

Tropical Storm Laura is moving through Hispaniola and will move towards the Gulf today through Tuesday, where it’ll start to strengthen and become more organized.  

It’s forecast to become a Category 1 or 2 hurricane by late Wednesday into Thursday morning before making landfall. The Houston area is in the forecast cone, so we have to continue to keep a very close eye on the storm. And though the center of that cone is in southwest Louisiana, it’s shifted to the west the past few updates.

Right now, Laura is 95 miles southeast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It has maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour and is moving to the west-northwest at 18 miles per hour. 

The storm is bringing life-threatening flooding to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.  

No significant changes in strength are forecast in the next 36 to 48 hours while Laura moves over Hispaniola and Cuba, but the National Hurricane Center says some strengthening could occur Monday night or Tuesday once it’s in the Gulf..

Tropical-storm-force winds are have been extending up to 140 miles outward from Laura’s center.

There’s still a lot of uncertainty in the track and intensity

Intensity if the least predictable factor of tropical weather and Laura could be significantly stronger, even possibly a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico by early this week.

Tropical Storm Marco’s track moves back slightly to the west

The center of the forecast cone for Tropical Storm Marco now takes the storm to the eastern Louisiana coast, with a projected landfall Monday as a Category 1 hurricane. 

Right now, Marco is 185 miles northwest of the western tip of Cuba. It has maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour and is moving to the north-northwest at 13 miles per hour.

A hurricane warning has been issued for the coast of Louisiana from Morgan City to the Mouth of the Pearl River.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for Louisiana for Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans

What to expect from Marco   

One of the biggest dangers with tropical weather is storm surge. Storm surge along the northern Gulf coast could range from 2-4 feet through most of Louisiana to 3-5 feet near New Orleans east to Mississippi and parts of Alabama 

Tropical-storm-force winds could start as early as Sunday in the watch areas along the northern Gulf Coast.  but are mostly likely to start before sunrise Monday.  

Heavy rainfall with 1 to 3 inches is expected along the north-central Gulf Coast and isolated totals of  5 inches are possible, possibly resulting in flash and urban flooding.

What is the Fujiwhara Effect and could these two storms merge?

In a year that’s seen everything from a global pandemic to murder hornets, now we have a possibility of not one but two hurricanes in Gulf waters at the same time.  Tropical Depression 13 was the first to become a named storm as Laura on Friday morning. Tropical Depression 14 became Tropical Storm Marco Friday night.  Could they merge in the Gulf?  It’s possible. But not likely. Here’s what to know about the Fujiwhara Effect.

Be prepared this hurricane season

It’s way too early to know the exact intensity and track these two systems will take. Regardless, we’re in a very active hurricane season, so it’s a good idea to know what you’ll need if a storm was approaching.

Here is a list of important items you should have at home or take with you if you evacuate:

  • Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3-7 days; also fill bathtub and other containers; Gator Aid is good to fend off dehydration
  • Food – at least enough for 3-7 days; non-perishable packaged or canned food; juices; foods for infants or elderly family members; snack foods; food for special diets
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Cooking tools, fuel
  • Paper plates and cups, plastic utensils
  • Bedding: Blankets, Pillows, etc.
  • Clothing
  • Rain gear
  • Sturdy shoes
  • First Aid Kit, Medicines, Prescription Drugs
  • Toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags
  • Toiletries, hand sanitizer, hygiene items, moisture wipes, dry shampoo
  • Flashlight, batteries, lantern
  • Radio: Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
  • Telephones: Fully charged cell phone with extra battery; chargers; traditional (not cordless) telephone set
  • Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards: Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
  • Important documents: Place in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag: Should include insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, prescriptions, etc.
  • Tools: Keep a set with you during the storm
  • Gas: Fill up your vehicles several days before landfall is expected; Gas stations could lose power during a storm and supply trucks may not be able to reach the area
  • Pet care items: Proper identification, immunization records, medications, ample supply of food and water; a carrier or cage; muzzle and/ or leash
  • Bleach without lemon or any other additives
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Keys
  • Toys, books and games for children
  • Duct tape
  • Cell Phone charging stations – locations where you can charge mobile devices