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Saturday Night Tropical Update: Marco maintains wind speed and will Laura go north or southwest?

Here is your Saturday night look at the tropics and it is about as crazy as it can look. Tropical Storm Marco is holding steady as far as intensity goes at the last update that came out just a little while ago. Currently, Marco is at 22.3N 86.1W or 757 miles from Port Aransas. Maximum Sustained Winds have held steady today at right around 65 mph. Marco is currently in the Yucatán Channel moving NNW at 13 mph. 

At the last NHC update we were told the forecast was shifting to our East and that is exactly what it is maintaining tonight. Still expecting a landfall now in the Central Gulf Coast sometime on Monday, likely around Grand Isle or maybe a bit west of there. 

Here is how Marco got there. The track shifted because Marco sped up and made it’s run north. It also overnight last night became a much healthier Storm in terms of meteorological data. Remember earlier in the week Matt and I were talking to you about a weather system over the Rockies that was going to help us and drier air that was going to create a “wall” of sorts? That is protecting us somewhat here in Corpus Christi, and while I’m sure Matt and I would love to say that we called it right, this had been very difficult to predict and the model runs have been widely different day to day. But, the reason we saw that cone shift 350 or miles (which is unusual in itself this close to landfall) is because of steering currents. That data was not immediately available and when the Hurricane Hunters began pumping that surface data back in today, we were able to get a much clearer picture. 

At the last update Marco was forecast to move north-northwest, moving into the central gulf coast on Monday.  Marco could make landfall anywhere from the Texas/Louisiana border to the Mississippi/Alabama border.  After landfall, Marco is expected to slow down and turn toward the west-northwest reaching east Texas on Tuesday into Wednesday. Marco is forecast to become a category 1 hurricane before landfall. There is still uncertainty regarding the forecast track of this storm. 

Now let’s talk about Laura

Laura could end up putting Texas back in play again if it takes a southerly route across Cuba. Some model data suggests that (UKMET) but others have it taking a more northern route along the north coast of Cuba. Right now, it looks most probable that it would take that route. Here is why we say that: 

Out over the Atlantic is a tropical air mass off the eastern seaboard. As that mass moves off we have historically seen systems follow that edge. Remember, we talked a little yesterday about how systems like the path of least resistance? That’s it. That said, if Laura takes a more northerly route along the northern coast of Cuba, it is less likely that Texas is in play and that we see a landfall on Wednesday in an area similar to Marco. Anywhere from Grand Isle, Louisiana to Western Florida is in play.

Truth is that it is just way too early to tell where it goes because we don’t know how Laura ends up interacting with those higher mountains over eastern Cuba and how it plays with that tropical air mass. There ends up being a real “long pole” in the tent when it comes to predicting that. Model data generally favors that northern route, but we need to wait and see. 

Official NHC Forecast 

It is still too early to determine specific impacts Tropical Storm Laura will have on South Texas. Laura is forecast to become a Hurricane once it moves into the central Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday and this could prolong the coastal flood and rip current threat through the end of the week.

Marco could make landfall anywhere from the Texas/Louisiana border to the Mississippi/Alabama border.  After landfall, Marco is expected to slow down and turn toward the west-northwest reaching east Texas on Tuesday into Wednesday. Marco is forecast to become a category 1 hurricane before landfall. There is still uncertainty regarding the forecast track of this storm. All interests in the northwest and central Gulf coast should continue to closely monitor the progress of this storm.   

Biggest threat is tidal surge. Increasing swells could result in minor coastal flooding and an increased risk for rip currents Monday Afternoon through Tuesday. Wave heights are likely to increase Monday and Tuesday, potentially reaching 5 – 7 feet. 

We will keep you calmly informed over the next few days as this situation plays itself out. 

Doug Mason and Matt Pierce Briscoe filed this report with data from the National Hurricane Center, NOAA, NWS. For the most accurate forecast and probability ratings please consult with the NHC and our local weather office for your decision making and planning information.

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