An employee of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) monitors tropical storm Laura in Santo Domingo on August 22, 2020.
Erika Santelices | AFP | Getty Images
Tropical storms Marco and Laura were expected to develop into hurricanes as they gain strength and aim for an unprecedented one-two-two hit the US mainland next week.
Marco entered the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday evening and, according to forecasts by the National Hurricane Center, was on his way to landing in Louisiana or Mississippi on Monday afternoon. The hurricane status could come on Saturday evening, said federal forecasters.
Laura, who is in the eastern part of the Dominican Republic on Saturday, is expected to intensify into a hurricane by Tuesday afternoon, the center said. According to forecasters, it could get from Texas to the Florida Gulf Coast by Wednesday afternoon.
"It looks like the upper Gulf is going to take a double shot," said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the Hurricane Center. "This is so unprecedented that it is so close together."
The shortest time between U.S. landings for major storms is 23 hours between September 4th and 5th, 1933.
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Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on the Friday before the storms and asked President Donald Trump on Saturday to grant the state federal emergency status.
"Tropical storms Marco and Laura are expected to hit Louisiana in a short time early next week," Edwards' office said in a statement.
To achieve hurricane status, the storms would need to generate sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour.
Marco was in the Gulf of Mexico, about 75 miles west-northwest of Cuba, with maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour, according to the Hurricane Center. It was moving north to northwest at 13 miles an hour.
A hurricane watch was in operation from Intracoastal City, Louisiana to the Mississippi-Alabama border, including New Orleans, federal forecasters said.
Tropical storm Laura was approximately 85 miles east-southeast of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. It was moving west at 18 miles an hour.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and parts of the north coast of the Dominican Republic, and a tropical storm clock was on for the central Bahamas and Florida Keys, from Ocean Reef to Key West and the Dry Tortugas, the hurricane center said.