Hurricane Laura Path, Tracker as Storm Expected to Strengthen to Category 3 Before Making Landfall

Tropical Storm Laura has become Hurricane Laura a day ahead of forecast, threatening areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, and is expected to become a major hurricane before making landfall on Wednesday.

However, Marco has weakened to a Tropical Depression after making landfall in Mississippi and is expected to dissipate by early Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Laura has become a hurricane

Hurricane Laura was forecast to reach the northwestern Gulf Coast as a hurricane late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

As Laura moved over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters predicted that it could strengthen to a Category 3 hurricane, but could weaken again before making landfall.

Brian McNoldy, University of Miami hurricane researcher, told AP: "I would still give it a pretty decent chance of a Category 3 or 4, not necessarily at landfall, at least during its lifetime in the Gulf."

However, the National Hurricane Center announced that at 7.15 a.m. CDT, the Tropical Storm had strengthened to Hurricane Laura. The hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and higher gusts.

As of 7.15 a.m. CDT, the hurricane was 145 miles northwest of the western tip of Cuba and 625 miles southeast of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Hurricane Laura is forecast to become a major hurricane over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.

The map from the National Weather Service below shows that as of 7 a.m. CDT Laura has become a hurricane and is expected to become a major hurricane before making landfall on Wednesday.

Hurricane Laura Map
A map from the National Weather Service demonstrating how Laura has become a hurricane and is expected to become a major hurricane over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday. National Weather Service

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edward said in a tweet on Tuesday: "The NOAA Hurricane Hunter reports that Laura has become a hurricane. It is expected to make landfall as at least a category 3.

"Make sure you are prepared, have a game-plan in place, have the supplies you need, and that you monitor your local news to stay informed."

The NOAA Hurricane Hunter reports that #Laura has become a hurricane. It is expected to make landfall as at least a category 3. Make sure you are prepared, have a game-plan in place, have the supplies you need and that you monitor your local news to stay informed. #lagov #lawx pic.twitter.com/6od8a3Q8do

— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) August 25, 2020

There is a risk of life-threatening storm surge from San Luis Pass, Texas, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, within the next two days. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for these areas, outside of the southeast Louisiana Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System.

A Storm Surge Watch means that there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline.

Hurricane conditions are possible late on Wednesday from Port Bolivar, Texas, to the west of Morgan City, Louisiana. Tropical storm conditions are possible Wednesday afternoon and a hurricane watch is in effect.

Additional hurricane watches may be needed further south along the Texas coast if the track forecast shifts towards the south and west early Tuesday morning.

Tropical storm conditions and heavy rainfall are expected across central and western Cuba for several more hours. These rains could cause mudslides and life-threatening flash and urban flooding.

Tropical Depression Marco

Tropical Storm Marco made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi river at around 6 p.m. CDT and has now weakened to a Tropical Depression.

Tropical Depression Marco is producing a small area of tropical-storm-force winds over water to the northeast of the center. As Marco moves along the coast of Louisiana, these winds will likely subside, though heavy rain will continue along portions of the north-central Gulf Coast late Monday and early Tuesday.

Marco's maximum sustained winds have decreased to around 35 mile per hour, though additional weakening is expected. Tropical Depression Marco is forecast to become a remnant low on Tuesday and is expected to dissipate by early Wednesday.

Tropical Depression Marco
A map from the National Weather Service showing Tropical Depression Marco's path as it is expected to dissipate on Wednesday. National Weather Service

Louisiana Gov. Edwards said in a tweet on Monday night: "Let's take advantage of the opportunity that we've been given to better prepare ourselves and our families for the arrival of Tropical Storm Laura.

"We have one day left to make sure that we take care of what we need to. Let's make it count."

Texas is mobilizing the Texas National Guard to assist local, state, and federal officials in response to the storms.

Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement: "As the situation develops, it is imperative that Texans who live on the Gulf Coast and in Southeast Texas pay close attention to weather alerts and heed warnings from local officials.

"Property and belongings can be restored, but lives cannot. I call on all Texans who may be in harm's way to put their safety and their family's lives above all else and adhere to the guidance and warnings from emergency management officials."

Tropical Storm Laura
Ken Allen fills sandbags as he prepares for the arrival of tropical storms on August 24, 2020 in Morgan City, Louisiana. Tropical Storm Laura is expected to strengthen to a hurricane before it makes landfall. Joe Raedle/Getty