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Tropical Storms Marco and Laura continue to spin toward Gulf of Mexico

Both tropical storms are forecast to reach hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico next week.

Tropical Storm Laura continued moving west away from Florida on Saturday as the latest track saw it entering the Gulf of Mexico early next week and taking aim at New Orleans.

But there’s now a second tropical storm approaching the Gulf: Tropical Depression 14 reached maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and officially became Tropical Storm Marco on Friday night. It has been strengthening through the morning and as of 1 p.m. had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. It could become a hurricane sometime today or tomorrow.

Related: Peak 2020: Two hurricanes could reach the Gulf of Mexico at the same time
Tropical Storm Laura's projected path as of 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020.
Tropical Storm Laura's projected path as of 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020. [ National Hurricane Center ]

Laura was located 60 miles southwest of Ponce, Puerto Rico and was moving west at 18 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 2 p.m. forecast. It was generating maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. Tropical force winds extended as far out as 205 mph.

But the latest track also takes Laura over land this weekend, including the mountains of Hispaniola and Cuba, which could significantly weaken the storm before it enters the eastern Gulf of Mexico on Monday.

Laura could dump up to 8 inches of rain over the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, southern Haiti and eastern Cuba. Residents of the islands should also watch out for flash flooding and mud slides.

Related: Hurricane 2020: Seven things to know about a hurricane season like no other

Marco was located about 90 miles east-northeast of Cancun, Mexico and was moving north-northwest at 12 mph.

Marco’s projected path had it coming ashore in Louisiana Monday, while Laura could get close to that state by Wednesday.

There’s a third tropical system out there as well, called “Disturbance 1″ off the coast of Africa. It’s a disorganized band of thundershowers that is expected to move east through the Tropical Atlantic. It has just a 10 percent chance of developing over the next five days.

It will be a wet weekend in Tampa Bay regardless of all this tropical activity. There will be gusty winds and strong thundershowers this weekend with a chance of street flooding.

Related: 2020 could be one of the most active hurricane seasons ever, forecasters say
Tropical Storm Marco's projected path as of 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020.
Tropical Storm Marco's projected path as of 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020. [ National Hurricane Center ]

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2020 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at

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PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Get your documents and your data ready for a storm

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PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter

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