Rain and winds from Tropical Storm Fred approach Keys this weekend
Expect heavy rains and some possible tropical storm-force winds in the Keys this weekend.
Tropical Storm Fred approached the Dominican Republic on Wednesday morning, as Keys officials gathered for a storm call via Zoom. Fred is expected to weaken to a tropical depression later today as the core passes through Hispaniola, said Jon Rizzo, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service out of Key West. There’s uncertainty, however, over the storm’s organization after it emerges to the northwest of Haiti.
Rizzo expressed confidence that the storm will likely approach Florida as a weaker tropical storm or a tropical depression. Heavy weather impacts will be felt in the Keys beginning Friday evening. Conditions could mirror those witnessed in Key West with Tropical Storm Elsa, Rizzo said.
“One signal we are getting in the models is that this could be a heavy rainfall producer. We do have the potential for street and poor-drainage-area flooding,” he said. “A lot of times with these weaker storms, a lot of that intense rainfall comes in rain bands.”
Rizzo said there’s been very little adjustment to the storm’s track, which shows it traveling through the Straits of Florida and to the Gulf of Mexico. Rizzo said there’s a chance the storm will stay north of Cuba, meaning interaction with land in the next few days may not be as high as forecasters thought when it was a disturbance.
There’s currently a 20% chance for tropical storm-force winds for the Lower Keys. Rizzo said the Keys could get 6 to 8 inches of rain Friday evening through Sunday.
“As the storm moves into the Gulf of Mexico, it kind of turns more northwest and north. And sometimes we get stuck, just like we did with Elsa, with that tailing squall,” Rizzo said. “Wherever that sets up is going to get several more inches of rain than that.”
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