Fred May Be Upgraded to Tropical Storm, Will Drench Florida
(Bloomberg) -- Fred is expected to dump rain on southern Florida this weekend and may be upgraded again to a tropical storm as it sweeps the state’s west coast.
The tropical depression was 245 miles (394 kilometers) southeast of Key West at 2 p.m. local time, with sustained winds reaching 35 miles per hour, according to an advisory from the National Hurricane Center. It could bring as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain to parts of Florida by Monday.
Warm ocean waters will give Fred a boost. The Hurricane Center said it will slowly strengthen over the next few days and may regain tropical-storm strength Friday, once its windspeeds surpass 39 miles per hour.
The sixth named Atlantic storm of the year will mirror the path of the last one, Elsa, which made landfall in Florida’s northern Gulf Coast in early July. This one could reach land early Monday on the Panhandle, near Apalachicola, according to Jim Rouiller, chief meteorologist with Energy Weather Group. Heavy rain should reach inland parts of the Southeast and southern Appalachia starting Sunday.
But it’s unlikely to cause much damage, said Rouiller. On its current track, it poses no threat to the oil-production areas of the U.S. Gulf, and the wind and rain shouldn’t have much impact on Florida residents.
“I don’t think people are going to pay much attention to it,” he said. “Other than some storm surge washing up near Tampa Bay, it really won’t do that much.”
And after Fred, there’s another system taking shape in the Atlantic about 840 miles east of the Leeward Islands that has an 80% chance of becoming Tropical Storm Grace by Sunday afternoon.
That storm has the potential become much stronger and could threaten Florida and the Southeast next week, said Rouiller.
“This is the one to watch,” he said.
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