HOUSTON – Tropical Storm Fred formed last night at 10 p.m. CDT and is literally limping along to the West Northwest at 16 mph, which will take the storm over the mountains of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. That could change the storm’s path a bit, but the National Hurricane Center still has the forecast cone below with a track into Apalachicola late Sunday/Early Monday:
Those island mountains aren’t the only hindrance to Fred strengthening as the storm will also be traveling through dry air (in the blueish color) and unfavorable wind shear (the red lines). That will keep Fred from doing much other than raining:
So when Fred finally makes it to the Gulf on Friday we’ll see what is left of it. Right now, Florida is preparing for the following through Monday: “3 to 5 inches of rain is anticipated across the Keys and southern Florida peninsula, with isolated maximum totals of 8 inches. Heavy rainfall could lead to flash, urban, and small stream flooding, along with possible rapid river rises.” Those same impacts would be felt north and into the Panhandle.
What is Steering Fred?
I always talk about storms taking the path of least resistance, which is where the lowest pressures are. Right now the Bermuda High over the Atlantic (the one on the right) will steer the storm into the Gulf while this front dropping our way Sunday will be to the north (notice the L which is the lowest pressure). That sets up a path toward the Panhandle:
So that is when and where we expect Fred to go. And there is another system to watch right behind it:
The next name on the list is Grace.
All eyes on the Tropics!