Weather News

Tropical Storm Marco strengthening while Tropical Storm Laura shifts farther from Florida, but it could still affect the Keys

Tropical Storms Laura and Marco continue their march toward the Gulf, according to the 2 p.m. Saturday update from the National Hurricane Center.

A Hurricane Hunter aircraft investigated Laura and found it had become ragged and disorganized. The hurricane center said it has a better idea of the storm’s track and intensity forecasts, and shifted the forecast track slightly south away from Florida’s mainland but the Keys are still in the cone.


A few days from now, Laura’s forecast track could be influenced by possible interactions with the islands in the Caribbean and also by Tropical Storm Marco, another tropical storm that is forecast to be over the Gulf of Mexico. The details of that interaction are highly uncertain at this time, the hurricane center said.

Tropical Storm Laura warnings were posted for Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Haiti and the Bahamas and several others in the eastern Caribbean.


Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers declared a state of emergency at noon Friday, ordering the mandatory evacuation of all live-aboard vessels, mobile homes, recreational vehicles, travel trailers, and campers.

General population shelters will be discussed Saturday to open on Sunday at 3 p.m. for those who live in vulnerable homes or aboard boats, she said.

The latest forecast shows Laura in the Florida Straits between Cuba and the Keys as a tropical storm on Monday morning, then becoming a hurricane further north in the Gulf of Mexico. The track has Laura making landfall somewhere over Louisiana to the tip of the Florida Panhandle as a hurricane in the middle of next week.

South Florida may not get the full brunt of a tropical storm or hurricane but that doesn’t mean we won’t feel some of its effects, according to a National Weather Service briefing Friday.

“Tropical storm conditions remain possible across parts of southern Florida on Monday into Monday night,” the National Weather Service. “This threat has decreased with the past few advisories but fluctuations remain possible.”

In a letter, Gov. Ron DeSantis asked President Donald Trump to declare a pre-landfall emergency in 34 counties, including Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

Tropical Storm Laura had sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving quickly at 18 mph toward the west, according to the hurricane center’s advisory at 2 p.m. Saturday. The storm was moving across the northern Leeward Islands.


The system — which is about 60 miles southwest of Ponce in Puerto Rico — could cause storm surge, rainfall and heavy wind in portions of Hispaniola, Cuba, the Bahamas and far southern Florida this weekend.

South Florida residents should continue to monitor its progress. Whether or not the storm moves over the terrain of Greater Antilles this weekend will factor into its track and intensity. Storms generally lose intensity over land and may encounter storm-weakening wind shear.

Tropical Storm Marco is strengthening, the National Hurricane Center said.

As of 2 p.m., hurricane hunting aircraft had determined Tropical Storm Marco is strengthening. It is about 50 miles southwest off the western tip of Cuba, moving north-northwest at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.

It could also be a hurricane next week off the coast of Texas or Louisiana.

“These are right on schedule,” said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the Miami-based National Hurricane Center. “This time of year, in August and into September, you get these tropical waves that roll off the coast of Africa on average about every three or four days.”

Tropical Storm Marco is the 13th named storm of the hurricane season. Tropical Storm Laura was the 12th storm of the year, matching the record for the most number of tropical storms before September. The only other time that happened was in 2005, the year of Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma.


After Laura and Marco, the next named storms of 2020 are Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred.

In July, there were five tropical storms: Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna and Isaias. Other named storms this year have included Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal and Dolly. Tropical Storm Arthur formed in mid-May, making this the sixth straight year that a named storm formed before the official start of hurricane season on June 1.

Virtually all estimates for this hurricane season predict an above-average number of storms, due to unusually warm ocean temperatures and global climate factors that are likely to reduce the high-altitude winds that can prevent the formation of hurricanes.

Staff writer David Fleshler and Keven Lerner contributed to this report.

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