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As Marco Weakens, Attention Turns to Laura, Which May Become a Category 2 Hurricane

08/24/2020

With now-Tropical Storm Marco continuing to weaken, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) canceled plans to reactivate on Monday morning. Although no longer a hurricane, Marco is producing heavy rainfall and gusty winds along portions of the northern Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported at 1200 UTC. Marco was some 85 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River with maximum sustained winds of 50 MPH, moving to the north-northwest at 10 MPH.

“We now set our eyes on Tropical Storm Laura, currently located south of central Cuba,” Hurricane Watch Net Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. “It is forecast to move into the Gulf of Mexico overnight, where it is expected to strengthen into a Category 2 hurricane before making landfall late Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning. And with its fast forward motion, it should remain a hurricane well inland.” Graves advised those in the storm’s projected path to pay close attention to state and local officials.

“We will announce our activation time at a later time for Laura, as the system develops,” Graves said. “For now, our sincere thanks to all who participated in yesterday’s net activation. I think this is a good reminder [of] just how tricky forecasting tropical cyclones can be.” The VoIP Hurricane Net also called off its plans to activate for Marco, but may activate later for Laura, which the NHC predicts will make landfall along the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast at mid-week.

As of 1200 UTC, Laura was about 125 miles east-southeast of Cayo Largo and some 250 miles east southeast if the Isle of Youth, with maximum sustained winds of 65 MPH, moving to the west-northwest at 21 MPH.

“NHC appreciates all the surface reports from the affected area during hurricanes as they fill in gaps of not just weather data, but also give forecasters real-time, first-person perspective of what is actually happening on the ground,” said WX4NHC Amateur Radio Assistant Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R.

North Texas Section Traffic Manager Aaron Hulett, K8AMH, said he’s kept in touch with net managers and Official Relay Stations in his Section to discuss plans and preparedness, “and we are now on standby for any storm-related traffic.” 



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