Tropical Storm Fred forms in Caribbean, to track toward Florida

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Tropical Storm Fred became the first named storm in more than a month Tuesday night. Now, the system is eyeing landfall on Hispaniola and Cuba.

The National Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. update showed Fred 115 miles east-southeast of the Dominican Republic. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour with gusts up to 50 and is moving west-northwest at 16 miles per hour.

Tropical storm watches and warnings are in effect for much of the islands in the Caribbean.

On Wednesday, Fred is expected to track near or even make landfall on Hispaniola, which is the island of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

On Thursday, Fred will move near the Turks and Caicos Islands as well as the southeastern Bahamas. By Friday, the storm will be moving across the northern coast of Cuba.

Changes in Fred’s path could cause significant changes to the storm’s strength. Generally speaking, the more it tracks over water in the Caribbean, the stronger it could get.

Into the weekend, Fred moves past the Caribbean Islands and toward Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Fred’s projected track right now keeps it just off the western Florida coast. It could track right past Tampa on Sunday and toward the Florida Panhandle on Monday with winds nearing hurricane strength.

Right now, heavy rainfall and flooding are the top risks associated with Fred. Mudslides are also possible across the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

The National Weather Service said Fred’s forecast is more uncertain than usual (due to the storm’s path along multiple coastlines). Because of that specific risks for areas farther along the storm’s path remain unclear.

A new tropical wave is also now under observation in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s located a few hundred miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. It has a 30 percent chance of becoming a named storm in the next five days as it moves west.

2021 Hurricane Season

Fred is first named storm in five weeks. Our last named storm was Elsa, which became a hurricane July 2. Elsa made landfall in Florida on July 5 and headed north through Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina before heading north along the East Coast.
Elsa was the earliest fifth-named storm ever, breaking the record set the year before in what became the most active hurricane season ever. However, since Elsa, there has been little to no tropical development.
Still the busiest part of the hurricane season remains ahead of us. Last week, the NOAA said the hurricane season “shows no signs of slowing,” and even updated its prediction from 13-20 named storms to 15-21.

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