Aug. 11 (UPI) — Tropical Storm Fred crossed over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday afternoon, bringing heavy rainfall and high winds hours after it formed in the Caribbean.
The National Hurricane Center said in its 5 p.m. EDT advisory that Fred, the sixth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic season, was carrying maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and was located 75 miles west-northwest of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and 210 miles southeast of Great Inagua Island. It was moving west-northwest at 15 mph.
Forecasters said northern Haiti and the southwestern Bahamas could start to experience tropical storm conditions late Wednesday.
“Heavy rainfall could lead to flash, urban and small stream flooding, along with possible rapid river rises and potential mudslides in the Dominican Republic,” the NHC said in its advisory, adding that a potential for wind and rainfall impacts could develop for Haiti, the Bahamas and Cuba.
The NHC said Florida could begin seeing impacts Friday night or Saturday morning, beginning with the Keys.
“Beginning Friday, heavy rainfall could lead to areal, urban and small stream flooding, and possible rapid river rises across southern Florida,” the NHC said.
AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said Fred, however, is not likely to gain hurricane strength.
“Following additional organization and strengthening as a tropical storm through Tuesday night, interaction with the Greater Antilles is likely to cause some [loss of wind intensity] from Wednesday to Thursday and perhaps into Friday as well,” Kottlowski said.
“Wind shear near and over the Gulf of Mexico could mitigate strengthening and possibly cap the storm’s intensity while it’s over the Gulf of Mexico.”
A tropical storm warning was in effect for the Dominican Republic on the south coast from Punta Palenque eastward and on the north coast from the Dominican Republic/Haiti border eastward. Tropical storm watches were in place for parts of Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands, southeastern Bahamas, and parts of Cuba.
Fred follows five other named storms in the Atlantic basin so far this year — Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny and Elsa. Of those five, Elsa was the only one to gain hurricane strength.