Tracking the Tropics: Tropical Storm Laura forms in Atlantic, Marco expected to form soon

Tracking the Tropics

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A rare occurrence could happen in the Gulf of Mexico in the coming days as two tropical systems are forecast to reach hurricane strength.

Tropical Storm Laura formed in the Atlantic on Friday morning. Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 14 is expected to become Tropical Storm Marco. Both are forecast to become hurricanes as they move through the Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical Storm Laura

Tropical Storm Laura formed in the Atlantic Friday from Tropical Depression 13. Hurricane Hunters flew into the system around 9 a.m. and found it had reached tropical storm strength with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

As of 11 a.m., Laura is about 210 miles east-southeast of the Northern Leeward Islands and moving west at about 18 mph.

“The 11 a.m. update takes the system a little farther south so that it tracks over the Caribbean Islands. This track is also farther west and away from our coast next week,” Max Defender 8 Meteorologist Leigh Spann said. “This track will continue to make shifts like this through the next few days.”

The system is expected to continue on that track for the next few days, moving near or north of the northern Leeward Islands by late Friday and near or north of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Saturday, and near or north of Hispaniola Saturday night.

The system could bring some storm surge, rainfall and wind impacts to parts of Hispaniola, Cuba, the Bahamas and parts Florida this weekend and early next week.

However, the NHC says the details of the long-range track and intensity forecasts are “more uncertain than usual” because the system could move over parts of the Greater Antilles this weekend.

The storm is expected to produce 3 to 6 inches of rainfall over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through Sunday. Tropical Storm Warnings and Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for some areas.


  • Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Saba and St. Eustatius
  • St. Maarten
  • St. Martin and St. Barthelemy
  • Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla


  • The northern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Cabron to the border with Haiti
  • The northern coast of Haiti from Le Mole St. Nicholas to the border with the Dominican Republic
  • The southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands

Tropical Depression 14

Tropical Depression 14, which formed in the central Caribbean Sea on Thursday, is expected to become Tropical Storm Marco on Friday.

The depression was about 160 miles east of Isla Roatan Honduras as of 8 a.m. Friday with 35 mph maximum sustained winds. It’s moving west-northwest at 12 mph.


  • Punta Herrero to Cancun, Mexico


  • Bay Islands of Honduras
  • Punta Herrero to Cancun Mexico


  • North and west of Cancun to Dzilam, Mexico

Tropical wave

The NHC is also monitoring a tropical wave over western Africa. The wave is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms and is expected to move over the far eastern tropical Atlantic on Friday. It has a 20% chance of developing over the next two days and a 5% chance of development over the next five days.

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