• Sat. Mar 6th, 2021

Marco downgraded to tropical storm; Laura strengthens slightly as storms eye Louisiana coast – FOX 35 Orlando

The FOX 35 Weather team is tracking Marco and Laura as they set their eyes on the Louisiana coast.

In its 11 p.m. (EST) update, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced that Marco was downgraded to a tropical storm on Sunday, while Tropical Storm Laura strengthened slightly.

They are both expected to make landfall along the Louisiana coast.

There is a chance the storms could merge over the Gulf, with the stronger of the two absorbing the weaker storm.

However, meteorologists say this would not create an even stronger storm. If that happens, it would be the first time two hurricanes were in the Gulf at the same time, forecasters say, going back to the start of record-keeping in 1851. 

The good news is that Florida is out of both Laura and Marco’s cones. The Sunshine State does remain on the east side of these storms though, creating the chance for gusty winds, an increase in rain chance and the potential for tornadic activity. 

RELATED: Fujiwhara effect: Here’s what could happen if Laura and Marco collide in the Gulf of Mexico

Tropical Storm Laura strengthened on Sunday night to have maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.

The storm is passing near eastern Cuba, bringing heavy rains over Cuba and Jamaica.

Laura is expected to strengthen as it enters the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday and could be a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph by the time it makes landfall.

Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • The northern coast of the Dominican Republic from Samana to the border with Haiti
  • Entire coast of the Haiti
  • The southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Ciego De Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Mayabeque, La Habana, Artemisa, Pinar del Rio, and the Isle of Youth

Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

  • The central Bahamas
  • Andros Island
  • Florida Keys from Ocean Reef to Key West and the Dry Tortugas
  • Florida Bay
  • Cuban province of Pinar Del Rio

TRACK THE TROPICS: Visit the FOX 35 Orlando Hurricane Center for the latest in the tropics, including daily updates, live radar, and severe weather alerts.

Tropical Storm Marco is expected to approach the southeastern Louisana coast on Monday.

The NHC says that it currently has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

The NHC said hurricane hunters found that Marco weakened slightly, but hurricane and storm surge warnings remain in effect for portions of the northern gulf coast.

Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • Morgan City, Louisiana to the Mouth of the Pearl River

Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

  • Intracoastal City Louisiana to west of Morgan City
  • Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans

Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border
  • Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans

Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

  • Mississippi/Alabama border to the Alabama/Florida border

Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

  • Morgan City, Louisiana to Ocean Springs, Mississippi
  • Lake Borgne

Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:

  • Sabine Pass to Morgan City, Louisiana
  • Ocean Springs Mississippi to the Mississippi/Alabama border
  • Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas

STAY PREPARED: Get all you need to know about the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season with the FOX 35 Orlando Hurricane Guide

Forecasters have predicted that this season will have more activity than normal.

For example, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted an above-average season, with 13 to 19 named storms. Six to 10 of those would become hurricanes and three to six of those are forecasted to become major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). 

In comparison, the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane season had 18 named storms, matching 1969 for the fourth most-lively season in the past 150 years.

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season runs until Nov. 30.

Download the FOX 35 Weather App to track the tropics on your phone, receive severe weather alerts, and get the latest daily forecasts. 

Watch FOX 35 News for the latest updates.