Tropical Storm Fred Strengthens Again in Gulf Near Florida

By Brian K. Sullivan | August 16, 2021

Twin tropical storms promise heavy rains across Florida and more misery for Haiti, reeling after hundreds were killed following a massive earthquake Saturday.

In the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Fred, which had been battered by its path across the Caribbean islands, reformed and is now on a track for Florida’s panhandle. Meanwhile, nearly 1,360 miles to the east, Tropical Storm Grace threatened heavy rains across Puerto Rico on Sunday before striking the Dominican Republic and Haiti Monday. More than 700 people were killed in Saturday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti.”Heavy rainfall across ports of Florida, southern Alabama, portions of Georgia, and the western Carolinas could lead to areal, urban, small stream and river flooding,” the hurricane center said. In Haiti and the Dominican Republic, “heavy rainfall could lead to flash and urban flooding and possible mudslides from Monday into Tuesday.”

Seven storms have spun up across the Atlantic in 2021 so far, a milestone that is usually reached by mid-September, the hurricane center said. While storms in the Gulf can disrupt offshore natural gas and oil production, Fred is forecast to stay mostly away from those areas, which are located off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana.

Fred, with winds of 40 miles (64 kilometers) per hour, is drifting north-northwest about 320 miles south-southeast of Pensacola, Florida, the National Hurricane Center said in a special statement at 1:40 p.m. ET. A storm surge warning is in place for Florida’s panhandle from Indian Pass to Steinhatchee River

Fred could make landfall somewhere near the Alabama-Florida border early Tuesday, the fourth storm to hit the contiguous U.S. this year.

Grace was about 85 miles south of San Juan, Puerto Rico by mid-day Sunday. It is forecast to follow a similar track to Fred over Hispaniola and Cuba before emerging into the Gulf of Mexico later in the week.

An average of 14 storms are named in the Atlantic each year, in 2020 a record 30 storms swept across the basin.

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