Tropical Storm Marco could intensify into a hurricane Sunday and make landfall on the Louisiana coast by Monday — while Tropical Storm Laura heads for the same path, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Laura was southwest of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, early Sunday morning, after knocking out utilities in Hispaniola and leaving many in Puerto Rico without power.
A hurricane watch has been issued for the New Orleans metro area and voluntary evacuations have been issued in certain areas starting at 6 p.m. Sunday, forecasters said. The Mississippi and Alabama coasts were also under tropical storm and hurricane watches.
Tropical storm conditions are possible in the Florida Keys on Monday.
If the two storms converge, it would be the first time two hurricanes have appeared in the Gulf of Mexico simultaneously, according to records dating to at least 1900, said Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University.
Marco was swirling near the Gulf around 140 miles northwest of Cuba’s western tip Sunday morning and was moving at about 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 63 to 74 mph.
Marco is expected to intensify into a hurricane Sunday morning with winds up to 80 mph by Sunday evening. It will likely maintain its intensity as it makes landfall Monday and then weaken into a tropical depression by Tuesday, the hurricane center said.
Laura was moving northwest at about 16 mph with maximum sustained winds of about 51 to 63 mph Sunday morning and was expected to intensify into a hurricane Tuesday morning and make landfall in the same general area as Marco by Wednesday evening.
Still, “it’s entirely possible that the volatile shifts seen in the models could continue” and the storms could change course, the hurricane center said.