TS Laura Approaching Gulf Coast as Warning Lifted for Parts of Keys; Marco Weakens to Depression

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What to Know

  • The 11 p.m. Monday advisory showed the system with winds of 65 miles per hour
  • A tropical storm warning was still in effect for the Lower Florida Keys
  • Laura caused the deaths of at least 11 people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti

The Lower Florida Keys remained under a tropical storm warning late Monday as Tropical Storm Laura was forecast to become a hurricane as it approached the Gulf Coast.

The 11 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami showed the system with maximum sustained winds at 65 miles per hour while it was about 80 miles northeast of the western tip of Cuba and 765 miles southeast of Lake Charles, Louisiana, moving west-northwest at 20 mph.

A tropical storm warning was discontinued for the middle Florida Keys but was still in effect from the Seven Mile Bridge to Key West. The area saw squalls, with heavy rain and wind along the shoreline on Tuesday.

Tropical storm warnings were also in effect for portions of Cuba as well as the Dry Tortugas.

Monroe County ended its partial evacuation Sunday after Laura's projected path moved away from the islands. Emergency managers said boats, mobile homes, recreational vehicles, trailers and campers are no longer being asked to leave the island chain.

They recommended that those who live on boats find shelter on land as seas are expected to be rough as Laura passes to the west into the Gulf of Mexico. They also asked that those who had already evacuated wait until Tuesday before returning.

The National Weather Service said the Keys will see severe weather, isolated tornadoes, and coastal flooding three to six inches higher than king tides, especially on the Atlantic side. Residents and visitors should be aware of hazardous weather conditions in the Florida Keys starting Monday morning through Tuesday morning.

“Residents should continue to monitor the storm and be prepared for severe weather, 20-30 mph winds with gusts up to 50 mph, and strong squalls,” said Shannon Weiner, Monroe County Emergency Management Director. “Please secure all boats and outside items by this evening for this event.”

Heavy rain and flash flooding continued in western Cuba on Monday night. Laura was forecast to move away from Cuba and over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico overnight before it's expected to approach the U.S. coast at near hurricane strength.

Laura caused the deaths of at least 11 people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, while knocking out power and causing flooding in the two nations that share the island of Hispaniola.

Haitian civil protection officials said they had received reports a 10-year-old girl was killed when a tree fell on a home in the southern coastal town of Anse-a-Pitres, on the border with the Dominican Republic. Haiti's prime minister said at least eight other people died and two were missing. In the Dominican Republic, relatives told reporters a collapsed wall killed a mother and her young son.

Hundreds of thousands were without power in the Dominican Republic amid heavy flooding in both countries.

The Florida Keys started to see impacts from Tropical Storm Laura, which was taking aim at the Gulf Coast. NBC 6's Jamie Guirola and Chief Meteorologist John Morales have the latest.

Meanwhile, Marco weakened to a tropical depression Monday night after it made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

As Marco collapsed, the National Hurricane Center canceled all tropical storm watches and warnings. Marco’s winds died down to 25 mph as it sloshed 45 miles west of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Additional weakening is expected, and Marco is forecast to become a remnant low on Tuesday. The system is then forecast to dissipate by early Wednesday.

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