An employee of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) monitors tropical storm Laura in Santo Domingo on August 22, 2020.
Erika Santelices | AFP | Getty Images
According to an Air Force Reserve hurricane chaser, Marco intensified his hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday en route to the Louisiana coast.
Tropical storm Laura, which hit the Dominican Republic and Haiti, is also expected to develop into a hurricane and head for the US coast.
Laura could land on the Florida Gulf Coast from Texas by Wednesday afternoon, and Marco could hit Louisiana or Mississippi on Monday afternoon, according to National Hurricane Center forecasts.
The National Hurricane Center warned of potentially life-threatening storm surges and high winds along the Gulf Coast as Hurricane Marco approached. Storm surge of up to 6 feet has been projected for some areas on the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Friday, calling on the Trump administration to grant the state federal emergency status in order to prepare for the storms that have developed. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves also declared a state of emergency and warned residents that space in evacuation shelters would be limited due to Covid-19.
This year's hurricane season is well on the way to becoming one of the worst in history, due in part to the above-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and the Caribbean.
The warmer sea temperatures are caused by climate change, which has triggered more intense and frequent catastrophes such as hurricanes, forest fires and heat waves. California is currently battling more than 500 fires amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
"We are in unprecedented times," Reeves said at a press conference on Saturday. "In the next few hours we will not only have two possible storms, but also Covid-19."
The hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 and is expected to have 19-25 named storms, with 7-11 of those storms expected to become hurricanes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA predicts 3 to 6 major hurricanes with wind speeds in excess of 111 miles per hour.