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What to look for this weekend in the tropics

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Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-22 16:02:33-04

Residents continue to monitor two separate systems in the Gulf of Mexico, with both storms capable of bringing impacts to south Louisiana as we go through the work week.

As we've been repeating, and for good reason, confidence in the forecast has remained a little lower as both storms have remained fairly disorganized so far leading to some question mark down the road.

Model data, though has been consistent on eventual intensification of both storms so they should both continued to be monitored closely over the next several days.

Marco is showing signs of becoming a little better organized but since it took a little longer to get going the amount it will intensify before the Yucatan has been reduced, thus likely keeping Marco a tropical storm through the Gulf of Mexico.

The track of Marco continues a westward curve along the Louisiana coast line and onto the Texas coast by early Tuesday morning as a strong tropical storm.

While a path like this would take the main impacts into Texas it wouldn't leave Acadiana impact free, in fact we would likely see a considerable rise in tides along with some wet and windy weather.

Specific impacts are largely dependent on not only the track, but also the size, structure and intensity of the storm which still makes nailing down specific impacts almost impossible (we can still make a few generalization though which we will get to below).

Complicating the overall forecast is another storm further out to the west which also looks as if it will have impacts on Acadiana, and again carries a considerable amount of uncertainty into the forecast.

Tropical Storm Laura currently sits just east of the Dominican Republic, and a continued trend of sliding the track to the south would indicate that the steering ridge is still expanding which would push Laura to the west and into Louisiana.

This southward slide also takes Laura along the length of the islands which will help slow down any intensification, although favorable conditions in the Gulf of Mexico look like they will allow Laura to reach hurricane strength.

There's a couple trains of thought when it comes to Laura's forecast and you can see them both play out depending on which model you are looking at, one is minimal land interaction and a pass along the northern side of the cone.

The other maintaining the southern trend and catching the full force of the islands making it a much weaker storm as it gets into the Gulf of Mexico, this would be a more favorable outlook for Louisiana.

Reducing confidence even further is the potential for interaction with Marco, it's not entirely clear what type of effect they will have on each other, if they have any interaction at all they may be too far apart.

Despite all the question marks surrounding the storms Acadiana need to start preparing for tropical impacts during the week, not just from one but both storms.

This will mean an extended period of heightened weather watching which will require a good bit of stamina but it will be important to make sure to keep up to date with all the changes.

This amount of uncertainty means that there are certainly going to be changes, and as we've seen in the Gulf in years passed, those changes can arrive very quickly.

So what should you be looking out or this weekend?

As is normally the case land interaction is key with both storms, if Marco can avoid the Yucatan for the most part and emerge relatively unscathed you're looking at a stronger tropical storm.

A stronger tropical storm has the ability to churn things up in the Gulf a little more and take away some of the fuel that would be used by Laura as it followed in it's wake, as played out by the EURO model.

If Marco is a little weaker though as it moves through the Gulf of Mexico, and takes more of a hit from the Peninsula, that could leave room for a stronger Laura, as played out by the GFS.

None of this is occurring in a vacuum, however, and there will be some key things to watch with Laura as well especially as Laura will likely be the stronger of the two storms.

If Laura skates by the islands and through the Florida Straights we may be faced with a strong, quickly intensifying hurricane moving through the Gulf of Mexico with communities from Pensacola to SW Louisiana potential spot for landfall.

While there is some model support for that scenario, there is also model support for more land interaction and less intensification with a weaker hurricane hitting Louisiana during the middle of the week.

Either scenario has Louisiana staring at a long week, with various tropical impacts being felt likely through the work week.

Remember it's important to be prepared so review your plans now, and start taking care of some of the easier things allowing for more time for more strenuous preparation should the need arrive.

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