Storm forecast to arrive in Florida panhandle Monday

A tropical storm warning for the Florida Keys was suspended on Saturday when Tropical Depression Fred weakened into a tropical wave, the National Hurricane Center said. Florida could see two storm landings in a matter of days as Tropical Storm Grace gains speed.

Fred is expected to reform Sunday as he crosses the Gulf of Mexico. It could hit Florida’s panhandle and the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama on Monday.

The storm that soaked parts of Cuba on Friday was well on its way to developing into a tropical depression and eventually intensifying into a tropical storm. It was not expected to reach hurricane strength, the Hurricane Center said.

Fred reached the strength of a tropical storm late Tuesday, soaking the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico before continuing its downpour over the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

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The storm weakened as expected, but forecasters say it could gain momentum on the way to Florida. While there is still uncertainty about his path, Fred could end up in multiple locations in the state, forecasters said.

Fred is the sixth named storm of hurricane season 2021 and the first in August to break a month-long hiatus after Hurricane Elsa.

Where are the remains of Tropical Depression Fred?

The storm was located approximately 125 miles southeast of Key West at 11 a.m. EDT on Saturday. It was moving at 12 miles per hour from west-northwest with maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour.

What do the spaghetti models predict for Fred?

After Fred moved past Cuba later on Friday, it is expected to be west of the lower Florida Keys on Saturday afternoon.

The National Hurricane Center said its official trail shows Fred over the eastern Gulf from Saturday night to Monday, which could lead to further buffing before a final landfall is forecast along the Big Bend or Panhandle early next week.

When is Fred likely to hit land?

Fred landed in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday. It scratched the coast of Cuba on Friday. A landfall in the Keys on Monday is likely, forecasters say.

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How strong is fred

The maximum sustained winds hit 40 mph on Wednesday before Fred was downgraded to a tropical depression and then a tropical wave with winds of 35 mph.

In the Dominican Republic, around 300,000 customers were without electricity, and meteorologists warned of dangerous floods and mudslides after heavy rain. Puerto Rico had 13,000 customers without power after Fred yelled through.

The National Weather Service said the Keys and South Florida could also expect 3 to 5 inches of rain; some areas could reach up to 10 inches by Monday. That increases the possibility of flash floods, said the weather service.

Follow Fred’s path

Contributors: Megan Kearney, Naples Daily News; Charles Ventura, Joel Shannon and Steve Kiggins, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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