When Laura Boillot Balters and her twin brother, Marco Boillot, were students at Gulf Breeze High School in the 1980s, their nickname was the “wonder twins.”
Now, in 2020, Laura and Marco are living up to the moniker, as twin storms also named Laura and Marco are headed for in the Gulf of Mexico and could become the first hurricanes in recorded history to be in the Gulf at the same time.
“We have these sort of nuances as twins, even though we’re far away from each other we’ve had some kind of strange happenings and instances going on,” said Laura, who now lives in Destin. Marco lives in Fort Lauderdale. “We made a joke even before we found out about these storms about how it felt like things were brewing, and it was kind of interesting I guess to see it, of all the storms we’ve lived through this has never happened.”
Hurricane forecast: Marco, Laura lining up for possible one-two punch on Gulf Coast | WeatherTiger
The coincidences don’t stop with Laura and Marco. The twins’ dad is named Michael, and their mother goes by the name “Nana” for their six grandchildren. Michael is the name of the Category 5 hurricane that devastated the eastern Florida Panhandle in 2018, and Nana is the next name on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season list.
Though sharing names with historic storms is a first, Laura and Marco are no strangers to the storms – they distinctly remember Hurricane Opal in 1995 and Hurricane Erin in 2001. Their family’s home in Gulf Breeze was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
“All kidding aside, we’re in Destin, not really far from the water, and we had our home decimated in 2004 by Ivan,” she said. “But we just try to find the humor anywhere we can, and we hope (storms) Laura and Marco aren’t bad and don’t turn out to be a problem for anybody.”
NHC updates: Tropical Storm Laura continues Gulf push as Marco turns east. See latest update here
Marco strengthened into a hurricane Sunday, and Laura was forecast to do the same Tuesday. Pensacola is outside of the forecast cone for both storms, but the tropical systems are expected to bring rainfall to the Panhandle over the next several days.
As the Gulf Coast watches with bated breath for every update from the National Hurricane Center about where the storms might go and when they might get there, Laura and Marco (the twins) are making the endless spaghetti models into a form of friendly sibling competition.
“We’ll say, ‘Look, you’re going over Mexico! I’m going over the Caribbean islands!” Laura said. “I’ll say, ‘I’m ahead of you, Marco.’”
Laura and Marco have had fun with their friends on social media talking about the storm names, and are enjoying their names’ time in the spotlight.
It’s just another reason, Laura says, why everyone calls them the wonder twins.
“We had our 30-year (Gulf Breeze High School) reunion last year, and people kept calling us the wonder twins,” she said. “And now these rare twin hurricanes pop up. It’s one of those things, like, what are the odds?”
Annie Blanks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8632.