Weakened Marco makes landfall on Gulf Coast with Laura next in line
Two storms, Tropical Storm Laura and Marco, have set their sights on the Gulf Coast. AccuWeather's Bernie Rayno and Dan Kottlowski take a look at them.
Marco made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River on Monday evening just hours before weakening into a tropical depression.
Early on Tuesday morning, Marco became a post-tropical cyclone, as it began to dissipate just south of the central Louisiana coastline.
Impacts from the storm were felt along the coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle early Monday ahead of landfall in the form of rough surf and gusty downpours. Strong wind shear is present over Marco's circulation, causing most of the storm's moisture to be directed into southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
At 7 p.m. EDT Monday, Marco made landfall at the mouth of the Mississippi River as a weak tropical storm.
Marco strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane on Sunday morning, before being downgraded to a tropical storm once again on Sunday night. At 11 p.m. EDT Monday, Marco was downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.
As the system lost its spin on early Tuesday morning, it became a post-tropical low and the National Hurricane Center issued the last advisory on the system at 5 A.M. Tuesday morning.
On Saturday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency ahead of Laura and Marco's unwelcome arrival.
"We are in unprecedented times," Reeves said. "We are dealing with not only two potential storms in the next few hours, we are also dealing with COVID-19."
The governor and other state officials urged residents to prepare and advised people to find places to evacuate other than public shelters.
Despite Marco falling apart, Laura could come into the central Gulf Coast right on Marco's heels. Power outages could end up lasting for several days to even more than a week for some as restoration efforts will be hindered by having to watch the potential for another, likely stronger storm.
Oil and gas rigs are most concentrated in the central and western two-thirds of the Gulf of Mexico, with refineries in the Houston and Galveston area and around New Orleans. "Two [Gulf of Mexico] storms could certainly keep the rigs offline for a few days," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dale Mohler.
Tropical Storm Marco making landfall on Monday, Aug. 24 at the mouth of the Mississippi River. (NOAA/GOES-East)
"If Laura also takes a track toward the Louisiana coast as forecast, power crews may not even be able to go to some areas after Marco exits. As soon as they get there they may have to evacuate again to avoid Laura," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards requested a Federal Emergency Declaration on Saturday in preparation of Marco, as well as Laura.
"This is unlike anything we have seen, with two [storms] expected to impact our state nearly back to back," he said. "This may mean that people will have to shelter in place for more than 72 hours and that there may not be time to do things like restore lost power between the two storms."
Heavy rainfall will spread northeastward into the central and upper Gulf Coast states through Monday.
A swath of 1-2 inches of rain is anticipated from the Florida Panhandle and far southern Alabama across southern Mississippi and most of Louisiana. The heaviest rain will be focused on southeastern Louisiana, southern Alabama and into the Florida Panhandle, where 4-8 inches is expected, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 12 inches.
With the impacts from rain and wind that occurred, Marco was a 1 for the U.S. on the AccuWeather RealImpact Scale™ for Hurricanes, a six-point scale from less than one to five that rates tropical systems based on impacts.
Marco became the 10th storm in 2020 to go down in the record books for the basin. Marco beat Hurricane Maria from the 2005 season, and that storm wasn't given the name Maria until Sept. 2. This was the second Atlantic record set late this week, as Laura claimed the title for the earliest 'L' named storm on record when it was developed at 9:00 a.m. EDT Friday. Laura was located just east of the northern Leeward Islands when it was named.
And storm after storm could keep on coming as tropical waves continue to emerge off the coast of Africa, according to Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno. The heart of the 2020 hurricane season, which is just getting underway, is expected to be extremely active. AccuWeather meteorologists upped their forecast for the number of tropical storms in late July, with up to 24 now predicted and up to 11 hurricanes projected for the season.
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