FIRST ALERT: Tropical storm watches issued as Marco enters the southern Gulf of Mexico

First Alert Weather 9p 8-22-20

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - TROPICAL STORM WATCH FOR THE GULF COAST: Tropical Storm Marco is producing maximum sustained winds of 65 mph and the system has entered the Gulf of Mexico. Marco is expected to become a hurricane as it moves across the central gulf overnight and tomorrow. The system is expected to make a landfall Monday in southeast Louisiana and then make a sharp turn to the west-northwest. As the system nears the gulf coast late Sunday night and early on Monday, heavy rain, storms, and tropical storm force winds could impact the Alabama Gulf Coast. If peak storm surge happens at high tide, levels could reach 3-5′ at Mobile Bay. As for our area, the center of Marco will remain well west. However, the broad southerly flow across the region will continue to make for humid conditions, with scattered afternoon showers and storms possible for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

THE LATEST ON LAURA: This is a very interesting setup because we’re tracking a secondary tropical storm, Laura, that could make a landfall within 100 to 150 miles of Marco, just two days later. Laura is currently about 85 miles east-southeast of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The good news is land interaction in the short term will prevent rapid strengthening. There are also questions regarding whether Marco will churn-up the water enough to cause some upwelling. This would also work against rapid strengthening, however intensity forecasts still shows Laura becoming a hurricane. Laura is also expected to follow the high pressure ridge northwest towards Louisiana. This system will also remain west of our area, with a landfall expected on Wednesday.

After Laura makes landfall, the system will move more northerly, and the remnants could move in our direction next Thursday or Friday. Therefore, expect an increasing chance for scattered tropical downpours for the end of the workweek, with scattered storms. Due to increased wind shear, we would also need to monitor for an isolated tornado risk to the far west. Plan for a very humid feeling workweek, with highs in the upper 80s and low 90s. Overnight lows will be in the middle 70s. I will be sharing the latest advisories after boxing tonight on WBRC!

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