Marco weakens to tropical storm; Laura track shifts east as storm picks up steam

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Marco is in the Gulf of Mexico. Laura will be there soon.

HOUSTON — Marco weakened to a tropical storm as it edged closer to the Louisiana coast. It had been a Category 1 storm, but the 10pm Sunday National Hurricane Center update downgraded it. It’s still expected to take a turn to the west and the Houston area remains in the cone.  

Meanwhile, the track of Laura moved back slightly to the east.  The center of the forecast cone is now in western Louisiana. The Houston area is no longer in the forecast cone, but the storm has been very unpredictable, so it can easy shift back. It is still expected to pick up steam as it moves across the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.   

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

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Below are updates on both of the storms.

Tropical Storm Laura picks up steam

The National Hurricane Center’s track for Laura has it making landfall in western Lousiana wesdnesday evening. The track had been centered on the Texas-Louisian a border, but the 10pm forecast cone shifted back to the east.  

There is an increasing risk of storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts along portions of the U.S. Gulf coast by the middle of the week. Before it makes it to the Gulf coast, the storm will drop heavy rainfall across Haiti, Cuba and Jamaica through Monday.  

Right now, Laura is 125 mile southeast of Camaguey, Cuba.  Winds have increased to 65 miles per hour. It’s moving to the west-northwest at 21 miles per hour.

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

Intensity is 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.

Marco weakens to tropical storm as it edges closer to Louisiana

Marco spent a day as a hurricane before weakening Sunday night.  

Marco has maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour and is moving to the north-northwest at 11 miles per hour.  It’s 185 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Weather conditions are expected to begin deteriorating along the central Gulf coast early Monday morning.

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