Taking a look at Laura and Marco – Monday Evening Tropical Update

finger lakes weather tropical update monday august 24 2020 tropical storm marco tropical storm laura
Tropical Storm Marco has made landfall in Lousiana while Laura should do similar in a few days.

Tropical Storm Marco

Late last week, two new tropical storms developed in the Atlantic Ocean and quickly caught the attention of the mainstream media and social media due to their close proximity and eventual impacts on the Gulf Coast.

The first of these to make landfall is Tropical Storm Marco, which came ashore near the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana around 7 PM this evening.

Thankfully, as far as landfalling tropical storms go, Marco is about as tame as they tend to come.

Marco briefly attained hurricane status yesterday, but today encountered strong southwest winds which tore the storm apart.

Thanks to those winds, most of the rain from Marco has been across the Florida Peninsula, far from the center of the tropical storm. Louisiana for the most part has been dry, though some rain will come west as Marco creeps westward along the coast.

Maximum winds at landfall were just 40 mph and Marco should continue to quickly weaken and will dissipate by tomorrow. Here in the Finger Lakes, we may see gusts that high tomorrow following the passage of a cold front!

Tuesday AM Update- Marco has dissipated and is no longer a tropical cyclone.

The lack of rain and flooding in Louisiana and weak winds are very good news with Laura lurking.

tropical storm laura satellite
Satellite imagery shows Tropical Storm Laura making her way across Cuba with a path set on the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. [Source: https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/GOES/floater.php?stormid=AL132020#navLink]

Tropical Storm Laura

Laura formed just before Marco did last week and has had a rough go so far. The track of Laura has had it interacting with land much of the time, including the mountains of Hispaniola, which can really disrupt a storm.

Now, Laura is just south of the western tip of Cuba and is expected to enter into the Gulf of Mexico.

Since Marco is already inland as a minimal tropical storm and Laura is not yet in the Gulf or a hurricane, the statistic of there never being two hurricanes in the Gulf at the same time will continue to hold.

Tuesday 8 AM Update- Laura is now a hurricane.

However, unlike with Marco, the winds in the background environment will be favorable for further development. Ocean water temperatures are very warm, which could lead to rapid intensification, as is often seen in the Gulf of Mexico.

Laura is forecast to reach Category 2 status with peak winds of 105 mph just before making landfall Wednesday night. However, there are models that show greater strengthening, and there is a very real possibility Laura reaches Category 3 (111+ mph winds) status and becomes a Major Hurricane.

Tuesday 8 AM Update- The official National Hurricane Center forecast now has Laura reaching Category 3 status.

Landfall is expected in western Louisiana or far eastern Texas, but the impacts of Laura will be felt on a much larger scale than Marco. Once inland, rapid weakening is expected, but flooding rains will continue to be a problem up the Mississippi River Valley and possibly into the Ohio Valley.

It is unlikely that we will see direct impacts from Laura here in the Finger Lakes. However, the tropical airmass Marco leaves behind and Laura enhances could interact with an incoming front on Saturday and bring some heavy downpours to our region.

This will be something to monitor later this week, but in the meantime, we will wait and watch, hoping for the best for the Gulf Coast.

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Follow Meteorologist Drew Montreuil:
Meteorologist Drew Montreuil has been forecasting the weather in the Finger Lakes region since 2006 and has degrees in meteorology from SUNY Oswego (B.S. with Honors) and Cornell (M.S.). Drew and his wife have four young boys and also run a goat milk soap business, Ye Olde Goat Cart. When not working or playing with the boys, he is probably out for a run through the countryside.

2 Responses

  1. John
    |

    Thank you for this “non-local” update, I’d be interested in more of them as your time permits. For instance, the heat wave in the west, the derecho in Iowa and so forth.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Thanks for the feedback, John! I’d love to do more of these types of posts, so we will see what time allows in the future as ideas come up! Feel free to get in touch with me if you have an idea of something you’d like to know more about, too!