Tropical Storm Fred moving across the Caribbean towards Florida

After passing just south of Puerto Rico overnight, the newly formed Tropical Storm Fred isn’t expected to hold onto its tropical storm strength for long.

On Wednesday, the storm is due to pass over the high mountains in the Dominican Republic, which the National Hurricane Center predicts will knock Fred back to a tropical depression for about a day. Forecasters expect the storm will regain its strength by the time it nears Cuba and Florida later this week.

Most of Florida is still within the cone. But with several days to go before Fred nears the state, the storm’s potential effects on Florida are still unclear, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Fred was moving west-northwest at 16 mph in the Caribbean Sea with 40 mph maximum sustained winds, according to the hurricane center’s advisory at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The storm was about 50 miles southeast of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, and its tropical-storm-force winds extended 45 miles from the center.

Tropical Storm Fred is expected to cross the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and weaken back to a tropical depression.
Tropical Storm Fred is expected to cross the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and weaken back to a tropical depression.

On the forecast track, Fred’s center is expected to be near or over Hispaniola Wednesday, move near the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday and move north of Cuba’s northern coast on Friday.

Forecasters say the Florida Keys could begin to feel some of Fred’s winds and rains on Friday, and portions of the Peninsula and Panhandle could feel effects this weekend. The hurricane center’s latest prediction shows the storm’s strongest sustained winds — 65 mph — while it’s approaching Florida.

There’s some uncertainty on how much wind and rain portions of Hispaniola, the Bahamas and Cuba will see during the next few days. Forecasters will have a better idea of what to expect after Fred interacts with Hispaniola’s rocky terrain.

What the hurricane center does know:

Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin in portions of the Dominican Republic Wednesday morning and later in northern Haiti and the southeastern Bahamas.

The storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall, which could lead to flash, urban and small stream flooding, and possible mudslides across the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

The hurricane center is also watching another disturbance — a tropical wave a few hundred miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands — for signs of strengthening. It had a 40% chance of forming in the next five days and 20% in the next two as of the 8 a.m. update.

Source: Yahoo News