Tropical Despair Fred is anticipated to hit the Florida Keys on Saturday
Tropical Depression Fred continued to pour heavy rain over parts of Cuba on Friday as the “disorganized” storm system headed for an expected Saturday landing in the Florida Keys.
Meanwhile, another system in the Atlantic, Tropical Depression Seven, has been predicted to become Tropical Storm Grace on Saturday as it approaches the Caribbean.
A tropical storm warning was issued for the Florida Keys and Florida Bay as Fred approaches. A warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.
“There’s a good chance there will be two landings in the US with Fred … probably early Saturday in the Florida Keys and the second likely over North Florida early next week,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno.
In addition to the tropical storm warnings in the Florida Keys, tropical storm guards were in place on the peninsula from Englewood to Ocean Reef, Florida.
The National Hurricane Center said 3 to 7 inches of rain are expected in the Florida Keys and the Southern Peninsula through Monday, with isolated highs of 10 inches. The National Weather Service in Miami has issued a flood watch for all of South Florida due to the expected heavy rains.
The Hurricane Center cautioned “not to focus on Fred’s accurate forecast, as heavy rains, gusty winds, and the possibility of tornadoes will stretch far northeast and east of the center, and these hazards will likely still affect parts of the Florida peninsula. “
On Friday at 8:00 p.m. EDT, Fred was approximately 175 miles southeast of Key West with maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour. It was moving west at 12 miles an hour.
Fred is expected to regain tropical storm strength on the warm Florida Straits early Saturday before reaching the Keys as a 40 mph tropical storm, forecasters said.
After Fred spent a brief period as a tropical storm earlier this week, Fred weakened back to a depression due to his spin over Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where he lost power to about 400,000 customers and caused flooding that forced officials to one Part of the country’s aqueduct system, which cut off water supplies for hundreds of thousands of people.
Local officials reported that hundreds of people were evacuated and some buildings were damaged. There were no immediate reports of victims.
Fred became the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season late Tuesday as it passed the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Behind Fred, the hurricane center said Tropical Depression Seven will become Tropical Storm Grace on Saturday. Tropical storm clocks were hoisted for some of the Leeward Islands.
The fault was about 580 miles east of the Lesser Antilles on Friday night and moving west at 22 miles an hour. Maximum sustained winds were 55 miles per hour. It was forecast to reach parts of the Leeward Islands later on Saturday evening and the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Sunday and Monday.
Contributors: Kimberly Miller, The Palm Beach Post; The Associated Press