Tropical Storm Laura Forms Earlier This Morning, Current Forecast Track Points To Alabama Gulf Coast

Tropical Depression 13 strengthened into a tropical storm earlier this morning and has garnered the name of Laura. The current forecast track has the potential of Laura making landfall on the Gulf Coast as a hurricane somewhere between Grand Isle, Louisiana, and St, Marks, Florida, with the center of the track pointing toward Fort Morgan, Alabama.

With this current track, our weather in Central Alabama may be greatly affected starting late Tuesday evening and potentially through all of Wednesday and Thursday. We could see gusty winds, heavy tropical rains, and a few tropical-type, quick-hitting tornadoes.

We still have several days before we will get any watches or warnings issued for the Alabama and western Florida Gulf Coast, but don’t wait… now is the time to get prepared and have a plan ready. Remember, with the ongoing global pandemic, there may be delays in getting the supplies that you will need… so don’t waste time. Be vigilant.

Here is the latest update from the NHC:

SUMMARY OF 1100 AM AST…1500 UTC…INFORMATION

LOCATION…17.0N 60.2W
ABOUT 210 MI…335 KM ESE OF THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…45 MPH…75 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…W OR 270 DEGREES AT 18 MPH…30 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…1007 MB…29.74 INCHES


WATCHES AND WARNINGS

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* 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

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* 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

Interests in Cuba and the remainder of the Bahamas should monitor the progress of Laura.


DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK

At 1100 AM AST (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Laura was located near latitude 17.0 North, longitude 60.2 West. Laura is moving toward the west near 18 mph (30 km/h) and a generally west-northwestward motion at a faster forward speed is expected over the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the center of Laura will move near or over the northern Leeward Islands later today, near or over Puerto Rico Saturday morning, and near the northern coast of Hispaniola late Saturday and early Sunday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 km/h) with higher gusts. Some slow strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles (240 km) from the center.

The minimum central pressure estimated from NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft observations is 1007 MB (29.74 inches).


HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

RAINFALL: Laura is expected to produce 3 to 6 inches of rain over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, and the southern Haitian Peninsula through Sunday. Maximum amounts up to 8 inches are possible along eastern portions and the southern slopes of Puerto Rico, as well as over Haiti and the Dominican Republic. This heavy rainfall could lead to flash and urban flooding, as well as an increased potential for mudslides with minor river flooding in Puerto Rico.

1 to 3 inches of rain with isolated maximum totals of 5 inches are expected over the remainder of Haiti, the northern Leeward Islands, the Turks and Caicos, and the southeast Bahamas.

WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected within portions of the warning area later today through Saturday. Tropical storm conditions are possible within portions of the watch area Saturday night and early Sunday.

Information taken from the latest National Hurricane Center Public Advisory as of 10:00 am.


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