Tropical Storm Laura enters the Gulf of Mexico; Marco downgraded to a Tropical Depression


    A tropical storm watch has been issued for the southeast Louisiana coast ahead of Laura. That includes lower Plaquemines, lower Jefferson, Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes. A hurricane watch is in effect farther west from Morgan City to southeast Texas.

    Threats from Marco are pretty much finished – all warnings associated with Marco were canceled, although we could still get a breeze and some passing showers or storms from it Tuesday and a weak continuation of an onshore flow, keeping water levels a bit higher along the coast and in the tidal lakes.

    Our focus now shifts to Tropical Storm Laura, which is near western Cuba with winds of 60 mph. The forecast path hasn’t changed much in the past day or so and takes it to southwest Louisiana by Wednesday night. 

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    Tropical Storm Laura is currently located just west of the Cuban coastline and in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm is moving rather quickly to the west/northwest at 20 mph with winds of 65 mph at the Monday 10 pm advisory.

    The forecast path hasn’t changed much over the past day or so and takes it to southwest Louisiana by Wednesday night as a Category 2 hurricane.

    Laura may be able to strengthen even more than that and could become a major hurricane (category 3 or higher). The overall atmospheric conditions in the Gulf of Mexico upon Laura’s arrival could help it to rapidly intensify.

    Impacts along the Gulf Coast will be possible starting late Tuesday night. That would include tropical storm force winds along the coast and breezy conditions farther inland for New Orleans and the Northshore.

    New tropical storm and surge watches have been issued for southeast Louisiana ahead of Tropical Storm Laura.

    A tropical storm watch has been issued for our immediate coast including lower Plaquemines, lower Jefferson, Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes.

    4-6 feet from the Mississippi River westward to Morgan City3-5 feet from the Mississippi River eastward to Lake Borgne and the Mississippi coast2-4 feet for Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas

    Aside from the storm surge, Laura could also bring impacts including rain and breezy conditions for much of southeast Louisiana on Wednesday. It looks like rain will continue into Thursday and Friday as Laura moves inland to our north and drags moisture over our area.

    It looks like the worst weather will stay to our west, as far as hurricane force winds and the highest storm surge. Southwest Louisiana or southeast Texas is where we’re expecting Laura to make landfall Wednesday night.

    Of course, it is a good idea to make any storm preparations you may need to do now and make sure storm drains are cleaned.

    Marco continues to weaken late Monday as wind shear and dry air tear the surface circulation from the mid level circulation. All watches and warnings for Marco have been canceled for the area. What’s left of the circulation will continue moving westward along the LA coast. We could still get some rain from Marco on Tuesday, but significant impacts are no longer expected.

    There is a pattern called the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) which is a fluctuation of favorable and unfavorable states for tropical development across the globe. This favorable/unfavorable pattern shifts every few weeks. At the end of August and into September, this pattern will shift over the Atlantic. When in a « favorable » mode, you could see multiple storms at a time and also the chance for more powerful storms. So we’ll be more favorable as we near the peak of the season. Stay tuned.

    NOAA released their August hurricane season forecast update and called for an ‘Extremely Active’ season. The forecast called for 19-25 named storms, 7-11 hurricanes and 3-6 major. These numbers already include nine named storms and two hurricanes. 

    Now is the time to be prepared. Typically, the season becomes more active in the next few weeks with the peak on September 10th. 

    The expert forecasters at Colorado State issued their August update on the 2020 hurricane season. Their forecast now calls for 24 named storms (total for the season), 12 hurricanes and five major hurricanes.

    Should there be 24 named storms, they would run out of names and have to go to the Greek alphabet, like in 2005.

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