Tropical Systems Strengthening, Expected in Gulf of Mexico at Same Time



A pair of tropical weather systems were forecast to strengthen over the next few days with both projected to make landings on the Gulf of Mexico coast in the middle of next week, the National Hurricane Center said Friday night.

Tropical Storm Laura was moving across the Leeward Islands, about 250 miles east southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, at 8 p.m. ET, packing maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and tracking westward at 17 mph.

Its anticipated path had moved slightly west from the day before, skirting across the northern coast of Cuba, strengthening into a hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico and striking land somewhere between the western edge of the Florida panhandle to the central Louisiana coast Wednesday morning.

Tropical Depression 14, which was to be named Marco when it strengthened into a tropical storm, was about 210 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, on the Yucatan Peninsula, just off the coast of Honduras. Maximum sustained winds were still no greater than 35 mph, which was the same as Thursday.

It was moving northwest at 13 mph, but was expected to quickly gain strength.

“Strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm later tonight or early Saturday,” the National Hurricane Center said. “The system could be near hurricane strength when it reaches the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico late Saturday. Additional strengthening is forecast Sunday and Monday as the system moves over the central Gulf of Mexico.”

Tropical Depression 14 was currently forecast to hit land Tuesday morning from as far south as the central Texas coast to as far east as New Orleans.

Two storms of this size have only been in the Gulf of Mexico simultaneously a handful of times, the most recent in 1959, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ABC News said.

Louisiana declared a state of emergency Friday in anticipation of the storms’ arrivals.

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