NHC Says Marco Now Hurricane, Laura Shifting West

As of 2 p.m. Sunday, Tropical Storm Marco has officially turned into a hurricane and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) shows Laura continuing to shift toward the west.

Current positions of both storms as of 1:19 EDT Sunday, 8/23/2020.

NHC Forecast for Marco as of 1pm CDT

At this time, Marco is not a large threat to the Houston Area. However storm-surge warnings are up from Sabine Pass to Mobile Bay. Parts of coastal Louisiana could receive 4-6 feet of life-threatening storm surge.

The heaviest rain from Marco should hit from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

NOAA no longer predicts even a marginal risk of flash flooding from Marco for the Houston Area.

However, Houston could still feel significant wind from Marco. NHC shows Houston has a 60-70% chance of feeling tropical-storm-force winds (40 mph or higher).

The most likely arrival time for the winds will be Tuesday morning.

After Marco comes ashore as a hurricane, it will rapidly diminish to a tropical storm and then a tropical depression. NHC currently shows the remnants of the storm curling back into north Texas by next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Space City Weather predicts, “Most of the winds and heavy rainfall should remain to the east and north of the center, we do not anticipate severe conditions in the Houston region from Marco.”

Laura May Now Be Larger Threat to Houston Area

Overnight the cone of uncertainty for Tropical Storm Laura shifted west toward east Texas. The most likely track is currently right up the Texas/Louisiana Border. Laura is currently a tropical storm, projected to intensify into a hurricane on Tuesday and Wednesday as it approaches the central Gulf coast.

NOAA predicts Laura could dump 4-6 inches of rain on the Houston Area.

As with Marco, NHC predicts a 60-70% chance of tropical-storm-force winds for the Houston Area.

The most likely arrival time for Laura’s winds in the Houston Area will be Wednesday evening.

Net: Laura could result in a prolonged period of hazardous weather for areas likely to be affected by Marco earlier in the week.

Uncertainty Remains So Continue to Monitor Forecasts

Considerable uncertainty remains about both storms. Models disagree over where Laura will make landfall. They range from Corpus Christi to New Orleans at the moment. Space City Weather points out that “For the National Hurricane Center, the average track position error at 3.5 days before landfall is about 120 miles, which is a little bit greater than the distance between downtown Houston and the Texas-Louisiana border on Interstate 10.”

So what should you do? Continue to monitor the progress of both storms throughout the week at Hurricanes.gov or on your favorite weather channel.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/23/2020 based on input from Space City Weather, the National Hurricane Center, and Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist.

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