(Photo: Tropical storms Marco, left, and Laura, right. | NASA)
National Weather Service forecasters on Saturday have issued a hurricane watch for all of coastal Mississippi and Louisiana, including New Orleans, as two back-to-back tropical storms are expected to reach Louisiana as hurricanes
next week. in a matter of hours.
Update: 11:20 p.m. CST: National Weather Service New Orleans has issued no changes in the warnings as the impacts from tropical storms Marco and Laura remain likely: “Preparations for TS Laura could be more difficult if there are lingering impacts from TS Marco. It is advised for everyone in the current TS/hurricane watches to stay vigilant and aware of additional impacts following TS Marco. NOW is the time to have a plan in place!”
The storms include tropical storms Marco and Laura, which are expected to reach Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricanes as early as Sunday and Wednesday, respectively, according to NWS New Orleans.
A hurricane watch, or when sustained 74 mph winds are possible in the area, was issued for all of the coastal Mississippi counties and the Louisiana coast from Vermillion to St. Bernard parishes, and includes the greater New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas.
Additionally, a tropical storm watch has been issued for north of interstates 10 and 12, and into southern Mississippi.
Marco, which is the first tropical storm forecasted to impact the city, is predicted to reach the coast sometime between 8 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. Monday, with possible heavy rainfall and sustained tropical force winds between 39 and 73 mph.
The storm, which currently sits 700 miles south-southeast of New Orleans between the Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba, made a “significant” shift to the east, making it more likely for New Orleans to be impacted by the storm’s eastern winds, although changes in the storm’s track are changing hourly, according to the NWS.
Minor coastal flooding from Marco is possible along the western parts of the Mississippi River and heavy rain could result in isolated flash floods in the area.
The storm is “struggling” to develop due to a low-pressure western front, but could still impact the Gulf Coast, according to NWS forecasters.
Storm conditions are expected to deteriorate going into Monday and Tuesday, although not too far behind is tropical storm Laura, which could bring stronger winds, heavier rainfall and higher inundation.
Laura, which currently sits 1,500 miles from New Orleans on the eastern tip of Hispaniola, is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane (at least 74 mph sustained winds) somewhere along southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi by early Wednesday and lasting until Thursday, according to NWS forecasters.
Damaging winds could be possible, especially close to its eye, if Laura makes landfall as a hurricane and bring flash flooding with extended, heavy rain.
Additionally, a storm surge warning is in effect and could bring life-threatening storm surge inundation of two to four feet along coastal areas, including Lake Pontchartrain.
The Quarter Rat will update this post when more information becomes available.