Marco, which strengthened into a hurricane on Sunday with sustained winds of 75 mph, is forecast to make landfall along the Louisiana coast on Monday.
Hurricane Marco and tropical storm Laura tore through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, forcing thousands of coastal residents in Louisiana and Cuba to evacuate and flooding rods in Haiti’s capital, with damage across the region expected to worsen this week.
US president Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration on Sunday for Louisiana ahead of the storms. He had issued a similar declaration on Saturday for Puerto Rico, which suffered extensive rains from Laura.
Laura, which hit the Dominican Republic and Haiti earlier on Sunday before striking Cuba on Sunday evening, is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane on Wednesday before making landfall in Texas or Louisiana on Thursday.
In New Orleans, Billy Wright spent his Sunday buying bottled water, non-perishable food and an attic ax, which can be used to chop through a roof if floodwaters block doors and windows.
The 33-year-old attorney and his fiancée live in a one-story house mere blocks away from a canal that failed during 2005’s hurricane Katrina.
Wright said, “You would rather have it and not need it than be stuck in your attic with rising flood waters, getting two storms back to back is a big concern.”
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards warned the states residents that tropical storm-force winds would arrive by Monday morning and they should be ready to ride out both Marco and Laura if they don’t leave by Sunday night.
In Cuba, many residents in the eastern city of Baracoa were evacuating homes on Sunday and heading to shelters or safer buildings on higher ground.
Haitian authorities reported five deaths so far, including at least two people swept away in flooding and a ten-year old girl crushed when a tree fell on her home.
In Port-au-Prince, videos on social media showed people wading waist-deep in muddy water in some of the worst flooding the Haitian capital has seen in years.
Laura could strengthen into a category 2 or 3 hurricane on the 5-step Saffir-Simpson scale for measuring hurricane intensity and move west, closure to Houston, the fourth-largest American city, said Chris Kerr, a meteorologist at DTN, an energy agriculture and weather data provider. Category 2 storms have sustained winds of at least 96 mph. The threshold for Category 3 storms is 111 mph.
In the Dominican Republic, at least three people died, including a mother and her 7-year old son, due to collapsing walls. Laura left more than a million in the country without electricity , forced more than a thousand to evacuate and caused several homes along the Isabela River to collapse, said by the authorities.