Here are updates for Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura, which are currently churning in the Gulf of Mexico:
9 a.m. Monday
• Marco has weakened considerably and is now a tropical storm. Tropical storm force winds are not expected, but some tropical downpours with occasional wind gusts could occur. The National Weather Service is still forecasting the possibility of 1-3 inches of rain.
• Laura continues to track further to the west, and it is forecasted to land at the Louisiana/Texas border as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday night.
• The Forrest County Emergency Operations Center will continue to distribute face masks and sandbags to the general public at the EOC and at Hattiesburg Fire Station 1 and Petal Fire Station 1.
6:30 p.m. Sunday
• Marco continues to track sharply to the west, and it could dissipate before making landfall due to strong wind shear. If it does make landfall, it will be in central Louisiana around 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
• Northern Forrest County is not expected to receive any tropical storm force winds, but the southern half of the county has about a 30 percent chance of receiving such winds.
• Forrest and Lamar counties could receive 1-3 inches of rainfall, which could lead to isolate flash flooding.
• The tornado threat looks to be very low with Marco.
• Rain and wind from Marco are expected to begin around 10 a.m. Monday.
• The track for Laura has also trended further west, and landfall is expected on the border between Louisiana and Texas on Wednesday evening. The impact on our area from Laura is currently unclear.
• The Forrest County Emergency Operations Center is distributing face masks and sandbags to the general public, and the address to the EOC is 4080 U.S. 11 in Hattiesburg. These items can also be picked up at Hattiesburg Fire Station 1 (810 Main St., Hattiesburg) and Petal Fire Station 1 (102 Fairchild Drive, Petal). The elderly and shut-in without transportation can call 601.544.5911 to have face masks delivered to their home.
• Emergency management officials urge residents to ready their hurricane preparedness kits. Those kits should include a flashlight and battery-powered radio (with extra batteries); canned and non-perishable food items (for up to five days); bottled water; toiletry items; pet food and pet supplies; medicines; copies of important family papers and documents; and personal protective equipment, including face masks.
• For additional preparation resources as well as the 2020 Hurricane Evacuation Guide, visit the Mississippi Department of Transportation website.
• Pearl River Community College officials announced earlier Sunday that all campuses will be closed Monday, including the Forrest County Center, and classes will not meet. Hattiesburg operations at both William Carey University and the University of Southern Mississippi are expected to continue as normal, although the universities have canceled some of their other operations, such as ones on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.