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New tropical storm poses potential hurricane threat to US

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 US Gulf Coast. A second storm also may hit the US after running into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

The new tropical storm was centred about 230 miles (375 kilometres) 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 US National Hurricane Center.

Forecasters earlier described it as a disorganised 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 US.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 14 was nearing the coast of Honduras Friday morning, and the US 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 US 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 centred about 160 miles (255 kilometres) 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 centred about 145 miles (235 kilometres) west of Cabo San Lazaro, Mexico.

It was heading west-northwest at 9 mph (15 kph).