Fred slows down, could soon return to tropical storm strength as it nears Florida Keys

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Tropical Depression Fred has slowed down and will likely start strengthening later Friday.

The National Hurricane Center said the center of Fred is located about 370 east-southeast of the Florida Keys. The storm’s sustained winds were clocked at 35 miles per hour and it is currently moving at just 10 miles per hour.

As of Friday morning, Fred remained poorly organized after being weakened by its move over Hispaniola.

However, the storm is now sitting over warm Caribbean water. That is expected to allow Fred to strengthen back into a tropical storm sometime Friday.

Fred will continue northwest toward the Florida Keys, where it is expected to arrive Saturday. The storm will then track up the west coast of Florida until it slams into the Florida Panhandle early Monday morning and then tracks into Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee into the middle of next week.

Tropical storm conditions are expected this weekend in southern Florida; all residents should prepare for heavy rain and possible flooding.

A second system is strengthening out in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s currently located about 1,000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.

The National Weather Center gives the storm a 70% chance to become a tropical depression in the next couple days.

It is moving at 20 miles per hour and could reach the Leeward Islands Saturday and the Virgin Islands by Sunday.

If this storm strengthens enough, it will be named Grace.

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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