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Marco strengthens into hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico

Most computer models keep Laura south of the Florida peninsula, NHC says
Posted at 6:21 AM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-23 18:53:00-04

MIAMI, Fla. — All of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast are out of the forecast cone as of Friday as Tropical Storm Laura churns west in the Atlantic Ocean. But that doesn't mean we won't feel some outer effects.

According to the 5 p.m. Sunday advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Laura is packing maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and is moving west-northwest at 21 mph with the disorganized center approaching Dominican Republic.

All of South Florida, with the exception of the Florida Keys, is not expected to see sustained tropical storm winds. Just possibly in gusts from squalls.

The latest forecast from the NHC has Laura staying a tropical storm as it passes 200-250 miles south of South Florida on Monday, then strengthening into a Category 1 hurricane on Tuesday as it enters the Gulf of Mexico.

"By Monday, you can see the storm is pretty much mainly south of the area," said WPTV First Alert Meteorologist Kahtia Hall. "Right now, the consensus is it's going to take more of a southerly path."

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Hall said that while our viewing area is out of the forecast cone, we could still see some tropical storm conditions like heavy rain and gusty winds on Monday.

Meteorologist James Wieland says "We will still see some fringe effects in the form of rain squalls as the storm passes by Monday. Winds will pick up out of the ESE 20-30 with gusts to tropical storm force. Rain will stay in the 1-2" range, but could be higher in isolated areas. Seas will build to 6-8ft occasional 10ft, rip current threat will be high and wave action along the beach will be elevated. While the tornado threat is not zero, chances are low."

WPTV First Alert Chief Meteorologist Steve Weagle said that Monday looks like an outer band, gusty wind, and off and on rainy day on the current track, but the strongest winds will remain south of our area.

On the forecast track, the center of Laura will move near or over Hispaniola late Saturday and early Sunday, then Cuba late Sunday and Monday.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Entire coast of the Haiti
  • Inagua and the Ragged Islands in southeastern Bahamas
  • Little Cayman and Cayman Brac
  • Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Ciego De Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Mayabeque, La Habana, Artemisa, Pinar del Rio, and the Isle of Youth

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

  • Florida Keys from Craig Key to Key West and the Dry Tortugas

Marco strengthened into a Hurricane Sunday afternoon in the Gulf of Mexico.

As of 4 p.m. Sunday, the Tropical Storm Marco is moving toward the north-northwest near 13 mph. A slightly slower northwestward motion is expected for the next day or so, followed by an increase in forward speed by early next week.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph with higher gusts.

Additional strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days as the system approaches the Yucatan peninsula.

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Scripps National Desk
1:29 PM, Dec 17, 2018

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