Laura had winds of 65 mph overnight as it struck western Cuba as a tropical storm, but it is expected to become a hurricane on Tuesday as it moves west northwest at 20 mph.
Parts of Louisiana and Texas are on alert for the arrival of the storm that could reach the states in the form of a Category 2 hurricane overnight Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. But the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico mean Laura could strengthen even further if conditions allow, CNN meteorologist Rob Shackelford said.
As a tropical storm, Laura has killed at least nine people in the Caribbean. When it makes landfall in the United States, it could cause a storm surge of 7 to 11 feet along parts of the coast, the NHC said.
But Marco made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River on Monday as a tropical storm, and later that night was downshifted once again to a tropical depression.
Overnight, Marco was traveling west along the Louisiana shore, but will likely collapse over open water on his way to Texas, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.
Tornadoes and the storm surge that Marco threatened to bring with her as she moved along the Gulf Coast are no longer a cause for concern, Guy said, but the storm could still be a factor rain. Localized areas could see up to five inches of precipitation.
All eyes on Laura
With Marco no longer posing an imminent threat, Edwards said Monday night that all eyes were now on Laura.
His main concern is the heavy rains and the flooding of rivers.
“There will be a storm surge impact, there will be a wind impact, there will be a rain impact,” the governor said.
The threat of storms triggered evacuations in Texas. A mandatory evacuation order was issued Monday for all residents of Jefferson County, Texas, according to the county’s Emergency Management Office Facebook page. And Orange County, Texas recommended a voluntary evacuation for the entire county before Tropical Storm Laura.
In Louisiana, residents are also preparing for storms.
Long lines formed outside Louisiana grocery stores as residents braced for both Marco and Laura.
Stacie Osborn said it took her 30 minutes to checkout at a New Orleans market.
“I stocked up on food for the week, extra water, and refueled my car in case,” she said.
And New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the site of the Hard Rock Hotel, which collapsed during construction in October of last year, remained a public safety risk due to the instability of the building. Three people died and dozens were injured in the collapse. It took about 10 months to recover two of the bodies due to the instability of the structure.
9 people killed in the Caribbean
At least nine people have died in the Caribbean, including several in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, because of Laura.
Among the victims is a 7-year-old boy who died with his mother after a wall collapsed in their home in the Dominican Republic. Another person died after a tree fell on a house.
Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader said an army corporal was killed while participating in rescue efforts in Pedernales province.
Five people were killed in Haiti, including a 10-year-old girl, the country’s civil protection agency said.
CNN’s Holly Yan and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.