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Year-old storm graphic goes viral, NWS advises there is no cause for alarm

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NWS graphic from 2020 is circulating social media and causing alarm (credit: NWS)

A Tropical Weather Outlook graphic forecasting the development of two storm systems headed for the Gulf Coast has recently gone viral on social media and caused undue alarm, according to the US National Weather Service office in Jackson Mississippi.

The viral post depicts a pair of tropical depressions gathering strength as they approach the Gulf of Mexico, along with a warning that both storms are expected to become hurricanes before making landfall.  The graphic is genuine, created by the National Weather Service on Aug. 21, 2020 forecasting the development of what would become Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Marco.

“We ask that you do not continue to share the ‘viral’ post because there is no tropical development in the Gulf at this time! Thank you for your continued support!” the post read.

Marco entered the Gulf on Aug. 23, 2020 and briefly intensified into a Category 1 hurricane but was weakened by wind shear.  Marco produced a 1-to-3 foot storm surge along the coasts of southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle a few days ahead of Hurricane Laura.

Laura stormed ashore near Cameron, Louisiana on Aug. 27, 2020 with 150 winds and was the first Category 4 hurricane on record to make landfall in southwest Louisiana, according to the NOAA.

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