Tropical Storm Fred – Florida residents told to 'review disaster plans' as flooding & gales to pummel state this weekendAugust 12, 2021
TROPICAL Storm Fred is on course to flood parts of Florida this weekend and Governor Ron DeSantis warned residents to “review their disaster plans.”
The governor tweeted: “This is the sixth named storm of the season & could potentially impact Florida this weekend.
“While it’s too soon to determine exact impacts, Floridians should review their disaster plans…”
SUNCOAST HIGH ALERT
The governor appeared to be attempting to dismiss the potency of Fred, as he included a recent radar photo showing the storm trajectory drifting west, with the Suncoast region of the state occupying most of the storm’s cone.
The cities facing the Gulf of Mexico include Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg and Clearwater among others that could be most vulnerable.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported Fred was 55 miles southeast of Cap Haitien Haiti at a speed of 15 MPH.
The system was expected to stay over Hispaniola overnight into Thursday.
It would then hit the Turks and Caicos Islands before reaching the Bahamas and then Cuba on Thursday night into Friday.
The winds maxed out at 40MPH before dropping to 35 MPH.
For the storm to graduate to a hurricane, the sustained surface winds would need to climb to 74 MPH or greater, according to the National Weather Service.
As of Wednesday, Fred's already caused flash flooding conditions in the Dominican Republic and other countries like Haiti and Cuba are also expected to get dangerously drenched.
Around 300,000 customers' power blacked out and more than a half-million were being affected by the rainfalls causing rising rivers that shut down part of the aqueduct system, government officials reported.
On Friday the storm is expected to turn northward, with a chance of making landfall along the west coast of southern Florida.
The storm follows Elsa, which became the earliest fifth named storm on record, beating out last year’s Eduardo which formed on July 6, Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said.
'RAPID RIVER RISES'
For Fred, the concern is the potential urban areas to experience river conditions, along with actual “rapid river rises.”
The NHC projects Monday the Florida Keys and southern Peninsula could see 3 to as much as 8 inches of rain brought on by “heavy rainfall.”
Conditions in the ocean are also expected to become more torrential in the days ahead of Fred’s US landing.
The Dominican Republic, US Virgin Island and Puerto Rico could experience “life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”
BLACKOUTS AND RIP TIDES
Even as tropical storm warnings were discontinued in many US territories after Fred weakened, the storms already hit the Puerto Rican islands with rain and left 13,000 customers without power.
Last week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported there was a 65 per cent chance of an "above-average" storm season, with a 70 per cent probability of 15-21 named storms.
Seven to 10 of the hurricanes could reach Category 3, 4 or 5 strengths.
“After a record-setting start, the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season does not show any signs of relenting as it enters the peak months ahead,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said, according to a press release.
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