Aug. 13 (UPI) — Tropical Storm Fred moved across the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday night as it prepared to make landfall in the United States, forecasters said.
In its 10 p.m. CDT advisory, the National Hurricane Center said the storm had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and was located 200 miles south of Panama City, Fla., and 175 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola. It was moving north-northwest at 9 mph.
The forecasters said heavy rainfall and a dangerous storm surge is expected along the coast of the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend starting Monday.
The storm brought tropical storm conditions to the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Wednesday, and Cuba later in the week, but weakened to a tropical depression after passing over the island of Hispaniola.
It regained strength as a tropical storm at 8 a.m. Sunday.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for the coast of the Florida Panhandle from Navarre to the Wakulla/Jefferson County line.
A storm surge warning was in effect for the coast of the Florida Panhandle from Indian Pass to Steinhatchee River and along the Florida coast east of Steinhatchee River to Yankeetown.
The NHC said it continued to produce heavy rains across western Cuba on Saturday morning and was expected to bring tropical storm conditions to Key West later in the day.
Fred is likely to make impact as a tropical storm along the Florida, Alabama or Mississippi Gulf Coast on Monday afternoon.
“On the forecast track, the center of Fred should move across the eastern and northern Gulf of Mexico through Monday, then make landfall in the western Florida Panhandle Monday afternoon or Monday night,” the NHC said.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Grace formed early Saturday.
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.