People in Cuba and Jamaica felt the impact of Tropical Storm Laura overnight, while those along the U.S Gulf Coast prepared for the impending arrival of two storms bringing heavy rains, winds and the threat of flooding storm surge.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said it expects Laura to achieve hurricane status by early Tuesday, with expected rainfall totals of 10 to 20 centimeters across western Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba.
The center of the storm is expected to move along the southern coast of Cuba during the day Monday, before going into the southern Gulf of Mexico on its way to a U.S. landfall around late Wednesday.
Laura has knocked out power and fresh water to more than 100,000 people in the Dominican Republic and killed at least 11 people there and in Haiti.
Forecasters in their latest estimate put a potential U.S. landfall location in either Texas or Louisiana, and the governor of Louisiana warned Sunday about the dangers, particularly flooding, that would come from the state being hit by two storms in close succession without time for areas to dry out.
Tropical Storm Marco is expected to approach the Louisiana coast Monday afternoon, and forecasters said the storm could turn and move along the shore throughout the day Tuesday.
The result would be expected rainfall in coastal areas of 7 to 13 centimeters, with an isolated 25 centimeters in some locations.
U.S. President Donald Trump has already approved disaster declarations for both Louisiana and neighboring Mississippi to speed the government’s response effort.
Storm watches and warnings were in effect in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, with officials in some communities, including the Florida Keys, issuing mandatory evacuation orders.