What to Know When the Storm Strikes Florida
Fred, the first storm in a month, was downgraded to a tropical depression on Wednesday night, but is expected to intensify before landfall in Florida, possibly as early as Friday.
The risk of Fred affecting the Sunshine State increased as it brought heavy rainfall and flooding to the Caribbean island states of Dominican Republic and Haiti, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Fred reached the strength of a tropical storm late Tuesday, soaking the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, causing power outages in some locations. The storm weakened to a tropical depression as expected, but forecasters say it will pick up pace on the way to Florida and possibly bring severe weather to the peninsula floor before the weekend.
Government teams with megaphones walked impoverished neighborhoods in the Dominican capital, Santo Domingo, before the storm prompted people in the low-lying areas to evacuate. Hours later, the government reported flooding in a courthouse.
Tropical storm warnings halted in the U.S. Territories after rain pelted the islands, leaving about 13,000 customers in Puerto Rico without power.
“In Florida, the risk of wind and precipitation increases from Friday evening or early Saturday,” said the Hurricane Center. “Starting Friday, heavy rains could lead to flooding in areas, cities and small streams, as well as possible rapid increases in rivers in South Florida.”
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Fred is the sixth named storm of hurricane season 2021 and the first in August to break a month-long hiatus after Hurricane Elsa formed on July 9th.
Where’s Tropical Depression Fred?
Fred was centered 25 miles (35 kilometers) south of Cap Haitien, Haiti, and moving at 15 mph from west to northwest on Wednesday night, the National Hurricane Center said. It had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 km / h).
What do the spaghetti models predict for Tropical Depression Fred?
The National Hurricane Center says some models show Fred will be chasing “near or over the Florida Peninsula” while others show he is driving past southwest of the Florida Keys.
When is the tropical depression likely to hit Fred on land?
Fred landed in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday. A landing on the weekend in Florida is possible, say the forecasts.
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How Strong is Tropical Depression Fred?
The maximum sustained winds hit 40 mph on Wednesday before Fred was downgraded to a tropical depression with 35 mph winds.
In Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the east of the Bahamas and the east of Cuba, rainfall of up to 5 inches was possible, the weather service said. The western Bahamas could see 3 to 5 inches, with isolated areas up to 8 inches.
In Florida, wind and rain could come on Friday. The weather service said the Keys and South Florida could also expect 3 to 5 inches of rain with areas of up to 20 inches through Monday. That increases the possibility of flash floods, said the weather service.
Follow Fred’s path
Contributors: Megan Kearney, Naples Daily News; Ch Joel Shannon and Steve Kiggins, USA TODAY; The Associated Press