Unprecedented: Two Major Storms In Succession Will Pound Gulf Coast

An unprecedented “double whammy “of hurricanes is bearing down on the Gulf Coast — the first storm to reach the U.S. will be Marco, that became a hurricane yesterday afternoon and it is forecast to make landfall in Louisiana by Monday late afternoon.  But there is a chance the storm will weaken and move westward along the coast toward Texas, dumping lots of rain and coastal storm surge, but packing less wind.  Then by later on Wednesday, Hurricane Laura is currently forecast to make landfall in nearly the same place but the models are forecasting it to strengthen in the 48 hours after Marco hits — it could become a category 2 or even a major category 3 storm, causing even greater damage.  Currently a Tropical Storm, Laura has inflicted a great deal of damage on the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where it killed at least four people and left hundreds of thousands without power.

Why This Matters:  As many news outlets reported, “There has never been anything we’ve seen like this before, where you can have possibly two hurricanes hitting within miles of each over a 48-hour period,” according to Benjamin Schott, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service’s Slidell, Louisiana, officeThis is our world with climate change – get used to it.

Evacuate or Shelter In Place for 72 Hours

The Associated Press reported that Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a briefing on Sunday “What we know is there’s going to be storm surge from Marco, we know that that water is not going to recede hardly at all before Laura hits, and so we’ve not seen this before and that’s why people need to be paying particular attention.”   Edwards warned residents to evacuate by sundown on Sunday or “You need to be prepared to ride out the storms,” saying that they might be sheltering in place for as long as 72 hours, according to The New York Times.  Because of the pandemic, more people were encouraged to stay at home rather than moving to a communal shelter.  The state of Louisiana and the federal government declared a disaster, freeing up federal relief. Officials worried that New Orleans could be hit with bad flooding if its aging drainage system becomes inundated as it did during an intense 2017 storm.

Texas Too

The Times reported that Texas Governor Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of emergency on Sunday for counties on the coast because it is possible that the second storm, Laura, could strengthen into a Category 3 storm.

Historic

Laura and Marco are historic for numerous reasons.  This is the earliest L and M systems in the Atlantic on record. According to The Times, there has never been a time when there were two hurricanes in the Gulf at the same time, according to the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  In September 1933, there was a hurricane was over South Florida and another was over the western Gulf of Mexico.  More recently, there was a hurricane and a tropical storm both in the Gulf of Mexico was in 1959 the National Weather Service said on Saturday.

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