Tropical Storm "Laura" forecast to move near or over portions of the Greater Antilles through Monday

Tropical Storm

Tropical Storm "Laura" formed on August 21, 2020, as the 12th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. Laura is following the trend of record-early storm formations this season and is now the 12th earliest Atlantic named storm on record. The previous record was held by Louis -- August 29, 1995.

Although is still too early to be sure, forecast models suggest we could have two simultaneous hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico early next week for the first time on record.

If both make landfall, as models suggest, it'll be a record 7 tropical cyclone landfalls before the month of September in the U.S.

The details of the long-range track and intensity forecasts remain more uncertain than usual since Laura is forecast to move near or over portions of the Greater Antilles through Monday, August 24, NHC forecaster Pasch noted.

However, Laura could bring storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts to portions of Cuba, the Bahamas, and Florida early next week and the northeast U.S. Gulf Coast by the middle of next week. Interests there should monitor the progress of Laura and updates to the forecast over the next few days, Pasch noted.

At 21:00 UTC on August 21, the center of Tropical Storm "Laura" was located 65 km (40 miles) E of Antigua. Its maximum sustained winds were 75 km/h (45 mph) and the system was moving W at 28 km/h (17 mph). The minimum central pressure was 1 007 hPa.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, and Montserrat, the northern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the border with Haiti, the northern coast of Haiti from Le Mole St. Nicholas to the border with the Dominican Republic. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

A generally west-northwestward motion at a faster forward speed is expected over the next couple of days. 

The center of Laura is forecast to move near or over portions of the Leeward Islands later today (LT), near or over Puerto Rico Saturday, August 22 morning (LT), and near the northern coast of Hispaniola late Saturday and early Sunday, August 23 (LT).

Laura is expected to produce 75 - 150 mm (3 to 6 inches) of rain over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, the southern Haitian Peninsula, and eastern Cuba through Sunday, August 23.

Maximum amounts up to 200 mm (8 inches) are possible along eastern portions and the southern slopes of Puerto Rico, as well as over Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and eastern Cuba. This heavy rainfall could lead to flash and urban flooding, as well as an increased potential for mudslides with minor river flooding in Puerto Rico.

25 - 75 mm (1 to 3 inches) of rain with isolated maximum totals of 125 mm (5 inches) is expected over the remainder of Haiti, the northern Leeward Islands, the Turks and Caicos, and the southeast Bahamas.

Tropical Storm "Laura" at 20:30 UTC on August 21, 2020. Credit: NOAA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA

Tropical storm conditions are expected within portions of the warning area later today through Saturday. Tropical storm conditions are possible within portions of the watch area Saturday night and early Sunday.

Featured image: Tropical Storm "Laura" at 20:300 UTC on August 21, 2020. Credit: NOAA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA

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