Tropical storm Marco weakened as its center approached the Gulf of Mexico coast and New Orleans from the southeast late Monday afternoon, while Laura appeared to be gaining strength as it followed behind from the Caribbean Sea and taking aim at western Louisiana and east Texas.
Marco, moving northwest at about 6 mph, was losing steam from its peak intensity on Sunday and was not expected to have tropical storm strength winds when its center crossed over onto land Monday evening.
"Based on how quickly the vortex has been spinning down and the anticipated decrease of convection, it is reasonable to assume that sustained tropical storm force winds will no longer reach the northern Gulf coast," the National Hurricane Center said in its 2 p.m. ET statement.
Winds were expected to be at 35 mph or lower, which would downgrade it to a tropical low as it tracks over coastal Louisiana into Texas. However, the NHC still predicted "gusty winds, heavy rainfall and lingering coastal flooding . . . along portions of the Gulf Coast through this evening."
The same could not be said for Laura, which was 25 miles south of the Cuban island of Cayo Largo del Sur at the northwestern edge of the Caribbean Sea and moving at west northwest at 20 mph. It had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph but they were expected to intensify.
"The regional hurricane models remain quite bullish on intensification, and . . . models indicate significant deepening while Laura moves over the Gulf of Mexico," the NHC said.
"Laura is forecast to pass over the very warm water of the extreme northwestern Caribbean Sea just south of the coast of Cuba today, and some modest strengthening is possible before the center moves over the western portion of Cuba this evening," the NHC added. "Laura is then forecast to emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico overnight where a combination of warm sea surface temperatures and a favorable upper-level environment are expected to allow for steady strengthening."
Weather.com had Laura's winds increasing to 90 mph by Wednesday morning and coming ashore later in the day.
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