By EVENS SANON, PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP):- Marco became a hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico for most of Sunday but weakened back to a tropical storm as it closed in on the Louisiana coast during the night, while Tropical Storm Laura killed at least 11 people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Laura began moving over Cuba late Sunday afternoon, following a path forecast to take it to the same part of the U.S. coast by midweek as a hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center said Marco’s sustained winds had decreased to 70 miles per hour (110 kph), though it still warned of life-threatening storm surges and dangerous along the Gulf Coast. Marco was centered about 185 miles (295 kilometers) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River land heading north-northwest at 13 mph (20 kph).
Marco was expected to be approaching the Louisiana shore Monday afternoon before turning westward toward Texas.
Haitian civil protection officials said they had received reports that 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 as Laura passed by and two were missing. In the Dominican Republic, relatives told reporters a mother and her young son died after a wall collapsed on them.
Hundreds of thousands were without power in the Dominican Republic as both countries on the island of Hispaniola suffered heavy flooding.
A hurricane watch was issued for the New Orleans metro area, which Hurricane Katrina pummeled in August 2005.
Laura was centered about 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of Camaguey, Cuba, late Sunday, and its maximum sustained winds were at 65 mph (100 kph). It was moving west-northwest at 21 mph (33 kph).
It was forecast to move along Cuba’s southern coast on Monday.
New warnings were added Sunday morning for Marco, including a storm surge warning from Morgan City, Louisiana, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and a hurricane warning from Morgan City to the mouth of the Pearl River. A tropical storm warning included Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana and metropolitan New Orleans.
A storm surge of up to 6 feet (2 meters) was forecast for parts of coastal Louisiana and Mississippi.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who declared a state of emergency Friday, asked President Donald Trump for a federal emergency declaration.
People in Louisiana headed to stores to stock up on food, water and other supplies.
The hurricane center said the storms were not expected to interact as the region faces an unusually active hurricane season.
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