Hurricanes Tropical Storms St Maarten

Tropical Storm Laura or Marco forecasted to develop today, could form into a hurricane as it tracks towards Florida.

Laura or Marco? Tropical storm expected to form and could become hurricane near Florida early next week. Tropical Storm Laura or Marco forecasted to develop today, could form into a hurricane as it tracks towards Florida.
A tropical depression in the Atlantic is expected to strengthen into either Tropical Storm Laura or Marco, and could become a hurricane as it tracks toward Florida by early next week, according to the National Hurricane Center’s update at 5 a.m. Friday.

The storm is expected to move along a fairly quick west-northwest track over the next several days, approaching the southeastern Bahamas as a tropical storm during the weekend.

“We can’t rule out it will, potentially, be a hurricane at that point,” said meteorologist Robert Garcia, during a National Weather Service weekly briefing Thursday.

Another depression in the western Caribbean is also expected to strengthen into a tropical storm — the first to form will be Laura and the next will be Marco.

South Florida is already experiencing scattered thunderstorms that are causing some flooding in low-lying areas but these are unrelated to the tropical disturbance.

Tropical storm watches were issued on Thursday for islands in the eastern Caribbean. The storm had sustained winds of 35 mph and was moving at 21 mph, according to the hurricane center’s advisory at 5 a.m. Friday. The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos issued a tropical storm watch on Friday.

The system — which is about 305 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands — could cause storm surge, rainfall and heavy wind in portions of Hispaniola, Cuba, the Bahamas and South Florida this weekend.

The latest track shows it strengthening into a tropical storm on Friday night over the Leeward Islands and could strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane on Sunday night before approaching South Florida early next week.

Forecasts said South Florida residents should continue to monitor its progress. Whether or not the storm moves over the terrain of Greater Antilles this weekend will factor into its track and intensity. Storms generally lose intensity over land and may encounter storm-weakening wind shear.

The other storm, Tropical Depression 14, is forecast to move quickly through the Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm, the hurricane center said. The coasts of Texas and Louisiana are in the forecast track.

“These are right on schedule,” said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the Miami-based National Hurricane Center. “This time of year, in August and into September, you get these tropical waves that roll off the coast of Africa on average about every three or four days.”

Tropical Depression 13 is expected to become a tropical storm Friday as it makes its way closer to Florida. (National Hurricane Center/Courtesy)

When Tropical Storm Laura forms, it will be the 12th of the year, matching the record for the most number of tropical storms before September. The only other time that happened was in 2005, the year of Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma.

The hurricane center urged residents of Florida to monitor the progress of the storm but emphasized that the forecast still had a lot of uncertainty.

In July, there were five tropical storms: Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna and Isaias. Other named storms this year have included Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal and Dolly. Tropical Storm Arthur formed in mid-May, making this the sixth straight year that a named storm formed before the official start of hurricane season on June 1.

Virtually all estimates for this hurricane season predict an above-average number of storms, due to unusually warm ocean temperatures and global climate factors that are likely to reduce the high-altitude winds that can prevent the formation of hurricanes.

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