Laura Strengthens To Hurricane, Marco Weakens

by Caroline Bynum

Tropical Storm Laura has entered the hurricane classification, Tuesday morning. The National Hurrican Center expects the hurricane to gain strength over the coming days, as it heads towards the Gulf.

“Significant strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours,” the NHC reports, “Laura is now expected to be a major hurricane at landfall.”

Laura is one of two powerful storms that were reported to hit the Gulf of Mexico at the same time. Marco, the second storm, has weakened. Marco is now a tropical storm depression, right as Laura gains momentum. Tropical Storm Marco hit landfall near the Mississippi River on Monday. Afterward, it was downgraded to a tropical depression, according to CNN.

Michael Guy, CNN meteorologist says storm surges and tornadoes due to Marco are no longer a concern. Heavy rainfall is still on the forecast, though.

Laura, on the other hand, will most likely cause some serious damage. The NHA reports, “There is a risk of life-threatening storm-surge from San Luis Pass, Texas, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, with the next 48 hours, and a storm surge watch is in effect for these areas outside of the southeast Louisiana Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System.”

According to Fox, Laura killed at least eleven people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti as just a tropical storm. Meteorologists expect Hurricane Laura to reach a category 3 or higher in the upcoming week. As of Tuesday morning, the NOAA Hurricane Hunter reports maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.

On Monday, Key West was already experiencing heavy winds and rain. Mike Seidel, a Weather Channel field reporter, shared a video via Twitter of the extreme weather.

Preparation For Hurricane Laura

The National Weather Service urges residents of Texas and Louisianna, especially, to get ready for the storm. The NWS warns in a recent tweet, “This is your last day to prepare.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency tweeted information for residents of affected areas to readily get information from their local officials. The app delivers National Weather Service alerts, local safety reminders, open shelter locations, and contact information. It is available on Google and Apple app stores.

The city of Galveston has already issued a mandatory evacuation for its residents, according to Houston’s ABC 13. Local officials are urging people to fill up their tanks now, in the event that the hurricane prompts more to evacuate. Harris County (Houston) Judge Lina Hidalgo urged in a press conference Monday to treat this storm as its own, without comparison to previously weathered storms. “Every storm is different, and we urge folks not to use any prior storm as a template for what or will happen,” Hidalgo explains. “What we need to do is prepare for the worst.”