Tracking the Tropics: Tropical Storm Laura’s track shifts west, Marco expected to form soon

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A rare occurrence could happen in the Gulf of Mexico in the coming days as two tropical systems are forecast to reach hurricane strength.

Tropical Storm Laura formed in the Atlantic on Friday morning. Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 14 is expected to become Tropical Storm Marco. Both are forecast to become hurricanes as they move through the Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical Storm Laura

Tropical Storm Laura formed in the Atlantic on Friday from Tropical Depression 13. Hurricane Hunters flew into the system around 9 a.m. and found it had reached tropical storm strength with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

As of 5 p.m. ET, Laura is about 40 miles east of Antigua and moving west at about 17 mph. The updated forecast track from the National Hurricane Centers shows a shift west.

“This whole track has shifted farther south and farther west, putting most of the State of Florida out of the cone of error,” Max Defender 8 Chief Meteorologist Steve Jerve said.

On the current forecast track from the NHC, Laura is expected to move near or over parts of the Leeward Islands on Friday. It’s then forecast to move near or over Puerto Rico on Saturday morning before moving near the northern coast of Hispaniola later Saturday or into early Sunday.

“Moving over Puerto Rico and eventually portions of Cuba may help to weaken the system,” Jerve said. “And there is a possibility this system may not even survive.”

The system could bring some storm surge, rainfall and wind impacts to parts of Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida this weekend early next week and then the northeast U.S. Gulf Coast by the middle of next week.

However, the NHC says the details of the long-range track and intensity forecasts are “more uncertain than usual” because the system could move over parts of the Greater Antilles this weekend.

TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

  • Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Saba and St. Eustatius
  • St. Maarten
  • St. Martin and St. Barthelemy
  • Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla and Montserrat
  • The northern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the border with Haiti
  • The northern coast of Haiti from Le Mole St. Nicholas to the border with the Dominican Republic

TROPICAL STORM WATCHES IN EFFECT:

  • The northern coast of Haiti from Le Mole St. Nicholas to the border with the Dominican Republic
  • The southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands

Tropical Depression 14

Tropical Depression 14, which formed in the central Caribbean Sea on Thursday, is expected to become Tropical Storm Marco on Friday night.

At 5 p.m. ET, the depression was about 255 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. It’s moving northwest at about 13 mph with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.

According to the NHC, the center of the depression will move away from the coast of Honduras on Friday and will approach the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico on Saturday. The system is expected to be near or at hurricane strength when it reaches the peninsula, according to the NHC.

After crossing the Yucatan Peninsula Saturday night, the NHC says it will move over the central Gulf of Mexico and toward the northwestern Gulf on Sunday and Monday.

HURRICANE WATCH:

  • Punta Herrero to Cancun, Mexico

TROPICAL STORM WARNING:

  • Punta Herrero to Dzilam, Mexico

Tropical wave

The NHC is also monitoring a tropical wave between the west coast of Africa and the Cabo Verde Islands. The wave is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms and is expected to move over the far eastern tropical Atlantic on Friday. It has a 20% chance of developing over the next two days and a 30% chance of development over the next five days.

TRACKING THE TROPICS

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    Tracking the Tropics

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