Rare: Two tropical systems to slam Gulf states this week

Landfall may be within 100 miles apart
Posted at 7:11 PM, Aug 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-23 19:17:06-04

For the first time since weather record keeping began in the early 1850's, two tropical systems will reside in the Gulf of Mexico this week and impact the southern states. It indeed is rare that two storms, both likely to be hurricanes, will track days apart through the warm waters of the Gulf and reach the southern coastline by mid-week. Right now, Hurricane Marco has 75 mph winds and is currently in the middle of the Gulf. Immediately on its heels over eastern Cuba, is Tropical Storm Laura with 60 mph winds.

According to the National Hurricane Center, these systems will impact areas from the Florida panhandle, to Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and southeast Texas. Heavy rain, high erosional surf, and wind will be the main players in back to back tropical systems that may make landfall just a day apart and perhaps within a 100 miles or so of each other. From a meteorological standpoint, that's absolutely incredible! The fact that two systems can traverse almost the same geographic area within days, then strike with almost pinpoint accuracy the same cities and states.

Of course, tracks and the strengths of these systems can change, but this is from the latest update as of Sunday evening. Take a look at the track of Marco below from the NHC. The "H" means hurricane status, the "S" means tropical storm, and "D" is tropical depression as it weakens once it hits land. It appears that Marco will skirt the Louisiana coast on Tuesday.

Marco Track.JPG

Below is another graphic from the National Hurricane Center showing the rain potential from Marco. 3 to 6 inches of rain will be possible with this system over extreme southern Alabama, Mississippi, and southeast Louisiana.

Marco Rain.JPG

Once Marco exits, directly on the heels of it just a day later will be the arrival of Laura in almost the same spot. See the official NHC track below.

Laura Track.JPG

The bad news here? Laura will likely be stronger and produce more rainfall that its predecessor. See the image of possible rainfall from this system...on the order of 6 to 10 inches in some spots.

Laura Rainfall.JPG

While these storms will produce a one two punch to areas along the Gulf Coast, it may not be over. The remnants of Laura (especially) may get caught up in the upper level flow and prevailing westerlies and carry a significant amount of left-over moisture north and east. In fact, we expect some of that to impact parts of the Midwest and Ohio Valley late this week. It remains questionable whether or not it will have a direct impact on our West Michigan weather. That said, the best chance for showers/storms in Michigan arrives Friday...about the time when the remnants from Laura will be traversing states just to our south.

Make sure to stay up on later forecasts as things may change. Get the complete West Michigan forecast at