Tropical Storm Fred tracks toward Florida with bumpy road ahead

A lopsided Tropical Storm Fred will be challenged to maintain strength as it crosses the mountainous Dominican Republic on Wednesday and encounters upper-level winds and dry air, forecasters say.

The system is still, however, tracking toward Florida and could bring a wet weekend to South Florida, which remains in the cone of concern.

Local 10 News Hurricane Specialist Bryan Norcross says that whether the system’s core crosses the most mountainous portions of the Dominican Republic on Wednesday should determine how strong the storm remains after that.

Tropical Storm Fred officially became the sixth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season late Tuesday night as it strengthened and became better organized while moving south of Puerto Rico.

In the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. advisory Wednesday, Fred was located about 25 miles south-southeast of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

It was moving west-northwest at 16 mph.

“On the forecast track, the center of Fred is expected to be near or over Hispaniola this afternoon and evening, move near the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday, and move near or north of the northern coast of central Cuba on Friday,” the Hurricane Center wrote at 11 a.m.

“Weakening is expected later today and tonight as the center of Fred crosses Hispaniola. Slow re-intensification is expected beginning Thursday night.”

Watch more analysis from Local 10 Meteorologist Luke Dorris in the video at the top of this page.

South Florida should be ready for the possibility of winds at 40 mph or stronger on Friday, the advanced forecast shows. And our area could see up to 4+ inches of rain, which could lead to flooding.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

Dominican Republic on the south coast from Punta Palenque eastward and on the north coast from Cabo Frances Viejo eastward

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

Dominican Republic on the north coast from Cabo Frances Viejo to the Dominican Republic/Haiti borderHaiti from the northern border with the Dominican Republic to GonaivesTurks and Caicos IslandsSoutheastern BahamasThe Cuban provinces of Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, Granma, Santiago de Cuba, and Guantanamo

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area.

WATCH BELOW: FRED’S IMPACT IN THE CARIBBEAN

Wind and downpours can be seen from the Dominican Republic as Tropical Storm Fred nears.

The system is expected to produce rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches over Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, with up to 6 inches in some areas. The rainfall could lead to flooding and potential mudslides there.

It has been more than a month since this year’s fifth named storm — Hurricane Elsa — formed.

Scientists are calling for a busier than normal hurricane season, though not to the level of the record-breaking 2020.

For the latest South Florida radar and forecast information, click here.

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