The National Hurricane Center sent two Hurricane Hunter aircraft aloft Saturday morning to get a closer look at Tropical Storms Laura and Marco.
Marco went to Tropical Storm status at around 10pm Friday night and by morning the winds had kicked up to 50 mph with stronger gusts. Laura is still projected to reach hurricane status as it travels through the Gulf of Mexico but it’s possible Marco may lose strength before landfall and be downgraded back to a storm with it reaches the Gulf coast. Or that could change.
Saturday morning the Caribbean islands in the Less Antilles have begun feeling Laura. Marco will skirt the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula but Cancun and Cozumel will get wind and rain.
This is the National Hurricane Center’s 7am Advisory for Marco:
DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK
At 700 AM CDT (1200 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Marco was located near latitude 20.2 North, longitude 85.2 West.Marco is moving toward the north-northwest near 12 mph (19 km/h). A northwestward motion is expected on Sunday, followed by a turn toward the northwest and west-northwest early next week. On the forecast track, the center of Marco will approach the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico today.The center will approach the northeastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula by early evening and move over the central Gulf of Mexico toward the northwestern Gulf on Sunday and Monday followed by a track toward the northwestern Gulf coast Tuesday.
Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 50 mph (85 km/h) with higher gusts.Additional strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days as the system approaches the Yucatan peninsula, and Marco could be near hurricane strength when it moves over the central Gulf of Mexico Sunday night and early Monday.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center.Marco's center moved just to the west of NOAA buoy 42056, which recently reported a sustained wind of 38 mph (61 m/h) and a gust to 45 mph (72 km/h).
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1002 mb (29.59 inches).
And this is Laura:
DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK
At 800 AM AST (1200 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Laura was located near latitude 17.7 North, longitude 66.0 West. Laura is moving toward the west near 21 mph (33 km/h), and a generally west-northwestward motion is expected over the next few days. On the forecast track, the center of Laura will move near Puerto Rico this morning, near or over Hispaniola this afternoon and tonight, and near or over eastern Cuba Sunday and Sunday night.
Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Slow strengthening is expected during the next few days.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles (335 km) mainly to the north of the center.
The estimated minimum central pressure based on surface observations is 1006 mb (29.71 inches).
The pictures tell the story:
photos: National Hurricane Center