MEXICO CITY — Tropical Storm Laura formed Friday in the eastern Caribbean and forecasters said it poses a potential hurricane threat to Florida and the U.S. Gulf Coast. A second storm also may hit the U.S. after running into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
The new tropical storm was centred about 375 kilometres east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands Friday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 75 kph. It was heading west at 33 kph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters earlier described it as a disorganized storm with a very uncertain future. The Hurricane Center said it might degenerate, or it might blow up into a major hurricane that could hit Florida by Monday or Tuesday and then the Gulf Coast.
The current forecast track, also highly uncertain, would carry it just north of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, across the Bahamas en route to the U.S.
Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 14 was nearing the coast of Honduras Friday morning, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said it was expected to veer northwest and cut across the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula Sunday, possibly at or near hurricane force. A hurricane watch was in effect for the strip of coast containing Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancun, as well as Cozumel island.
From there, the long-term forecast track would carry it to the U.S. Gulf Coast, perhaps Texas or Louisiana, by Tuesday or Wednesday — again, possibly, as a hurricane.
En route, it’s likely to soak flood-prone eastern Honduras, the Cayman Islands and parts of the Yucatan.
On Friday morning, it was centred about 255 kilometres east of the Honduran resort island of Roatan with 55 kph winds. It was headed west-northwest at 19 kph.
In the Pacific, former Category 4 Hurricane Genevieve was weakening and heading further out to sea after a glancing blow to the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, where it caused at least two deaths and knocked out power to a large part of the Los Cabos area.
The Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Genevieve had maximum sustained winds of 75 kph and was centred about 235 kilometres west of Cabo San Lazaro, Mexico.
It was heading west-northwest at 15 kph.
SOURCE: The Associated Press