Tracking the Tropics: Fred to strengthen in the Gulf, Tropical Storm Grace Forms in the Atlantic

WSAV Hurricane Central

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Fred remains a tropical depression Saturday morning as it skirts along the northern coast of Cuba. Strengthening is likely this weekend before making landfall along the Florida Panhandle.

As of 8 am Saturday, Fred’s sustained winds were still 35 mph. It was centered 25 miles west of Havana, moving west-northwest at 13 mph.

As Fred continues north in the Gulf of Mexico, it is expected to become a tropical storm again by late Saturday or early Sunday. Landfall is then expected Monday or early Tuesday along the Florida Panhandle or Alabama Coast. It will then quickly weaken as it tracks northward into Central Alabama.

While not a direct threat to the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry, an easterly flow off the ocean will persist for several days as part of the broad circulation around the storm. This will lead to off and on heavy downpours and a few thunderstorms. No other significant impacts are expected at this time.

Tropical Storm Grace

Tropical Storm Grace formed Saturday morning east of the Leeward Islands. It was moving west at 22 mph.

Grace’s initial forecast path is similar to the one taken by Fred. Initially, it will strengthen gradually as it approaches Puerto Rico by Monday morning, then weaken near Hispaniola just like Fred.

Beyond that uncertainty increases heading into the end of the week in terms of the strength of the storm and its proximity to the United States mainland. Storm Team 3 will continue to monitor this storm closely.

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