Tropical storms Laura and Marco threaten Gulf Coast, NWS Nashville launches additional weather balloons

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — People along the Gulf Coast are bracing for impact as two tropical systems, Laura and Marco, are expected to make landfall this week.

Middle Tennessee will see some impacts later this week, as one of those systems moves further inland. News 2 spoke to Krissy Hurley, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Nashville, about these two storms.

“Luckily, Marco is right now a small storm. A pretty tiny storm. But where it lands, where it makes landfall, will definitely impact quite a bit with wind, rain and storm surge. Now on the flip side, you look at what is now Tropical Storm Laura, and it’s quite expansive. It covers a very large area. And that storm will likely impact a lot more people along the Gulf Coast. Louisiana right now looks like it is going to be ground zero for both impacts with both storms.”

Here in Middle Tennessee, Laura is the storm to watch as the track does bring the remnants of the storm into our area.

“Laura is expected to make landfall across the Louisana Coast and then keep moving northwest and then eventually curve toward Tennessee. And even though we are a few days away, this is something we’ve been watching very closely for a few days now. And the main impact from the remnants of Laura that we would see, would be heavy rainfall and maybe some gusty winds.”

The current forecast is calling for between 1 and 3 inches on Thursday, Friday and into the weekend. Locally, a few areas, especially out west, could see higher totals. And, you’ll notice a very tropical feel by the end of the week. 

The NWS Office in Nashville is also working with the National Hurricane Center to improve the accuracy of their forecasts through additional weather balloon launches.

According to Hurley, “In typical normal everyday weather, we do two weather balloons every day. One at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. But when there is a threat for tropical weather, which there is a lot of times this time of year, we get requested to do them four times a day by the National Hurricane Center. And one of the main reasons why we do weather balloons four times a day, is to get more data. The more data that our computer models and the forecasters at the Hurricane Center have, the better their forecast will be. And this is really important when the hurricane or tropical system is heading toward the Gulf Coast or any coastline of the United States.”

These additional launches will also give us valuable information about what impacts we may feel here in Middle Tennessee later this week as tropical moisture from Laura moves into our area. 

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.

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