MEXICO CITY (AP) — 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 might hit the U.S. as a hurricane after running across Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
The new tropical storm was centered about 230 miles (375 kilometers) east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands Friday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph). It was heading west at 21 mph (33 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters earlier described it as 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 centered about 160 miles (255 kilometers) east of the Honduran resort island of Roatan with 35 mph (55 kph) winds. It was headed west-northwest at 12 mph (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 45 mph (75 kph) and was centered about 145 miles (235 kilometers) west of Cabo San Lazaro, Mexico.
It was heading west-northwest at 9 mph (15 kph).
By IGNACIO MARTÍNEZ DE JESÚS Associated Press
(AP) — Two newly formed tropical depressions at opposite ends of the Caribbean were expected to become tropical storms Friday, with forecasters projecting potential tracks for both that could take them toward the United States, possibly as hurricanes.
The tropical depressions formed Thursday, and tropical storm watches were posted for several islands at the eastern end of the Caribbean while a tropical storm warning was posted at the Honduras-Nicaragua border region at the western side of the sea. A hurricane watch was posted for the southern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tropical Depression 13 was likely to become a tropical storm Friday and then skirt the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. The early, still uncertain track showed it potentially being near Florida by Monday as a hurricane.
Late Thursday, the system was centered about 445 miles (715 kilometers) east of the northern Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph) and it was headed briskly to the west-northwest at 22 mph (35 kph).
Tropical Depression 14 was forecast to graze the Atlantic coast of Honduras, then curve northward to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula possibly at hurricane strength and then potentially head for the Texas or Louisiana coast by Tuesday, again possibly strengthening into a hurricane. It is expected to become a tropical storm on Friday.
Late Thursday, it was centered about 65 miles (110 kilometers) east of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Honduras-Nicaragua border, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph). It was headed west-northwest at 14 mph (22 kph).