Double hurricane threat as tropical storms Laura and Marco advance towards the US Gulf Coast

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Two tropical storms are advancing across the Caribbean posing potential historic threats to the US Gulf of Mexico coast, both expected to reach the coast at or near hurricane force.

The current projected track for tropical storms Laura and Marco by the US National Hurricane Center puts the two storms together in the Gulf on Tuesday, with Marco about to strike near the Texas-Louisiana border and Laura about to make landfall a little less than a day later. .

Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University, said two hurricanes had never appeared in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time, according to records dating back to at least 1900, and that the last time two tropical storms performed together in the Gulf was in 1959.

Mr Klotzbach added that the last time two storms made landfall in the United States within 24 hours of each other was in 1933.

On Saturday morning, Laura started throwing rain over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and parts of Cuba that need to be soaked during the day as they move west.

Wanda Vazquez, governor of Puerto Rico, declared a state of emergency and warned that flooding could be worse than what Tropical Storm Isaias triggered three weeks ago because the ground was now saturated.

“No one should be on the streets,” Ms. Vazquez said.

Officials said they were very concerned about the thousands of people in Puerto Rico who were still living under blue tarps after Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the hundreds of families living along Puerto Rico’s southern coast in homes. damaged by a series of strong earthquakes this year.

Meanwhile, Marco was building up with maximum sustained winds of 100 km / h and was to become a hurricane later in the day.

The Hurricane Center said it expected the storms to stay far enough away to prevent direct interaction as the region braces for the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, which is expected to be exceptionally active.

The two storms were expected to bring 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm) of rain to areas they passed through or nearby, threatening widespread flooding over a large area.

“Many people are going to be affected by the rains and storm surges in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Joel Cline, the tropical program coordinator for the National Weather Service.

“Since you just don’t know, you really have to take precautions.”

It is still unclear whether Laura will weaken as she passes over Puerto Rico and the mountains of Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba before entering the warm waters of the gulf, suitable for growth.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Friday citing the two storm systems.

“It is too early to know exactly where, when and how these double storms will affect Louisiana, but the time has come for our people to prepare for these storms,” ​​Edwards said in a statement.

Officials in the Florida Keys, who Laura could pass on her way to the Gulf, declared a local state of emergency on Friday and issued a mandatory evacuation order for anyone living on boats, mobile homes and in campers.

Additional reports by AP

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