Tropical Storm Fred a Threat for U.S. Gulf Coast
As of the National Hurricane Center's 0400 am CDT advisory, Tropical Storm Fred was situated in that area of ocean between the island of Puerto Rico and the island of Hispanola. Hispanola is the island that is home to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
The good news with Tropical Storm Fred is that forecasters do not expect the storm system to intensify to hurricane strength as it passes by those island nations today. Nor do forecasters believe conditions will be favorable for significant development when the system reaches the Gulf of Mexico sometime early Saturday morning.
The latest statistics on Tropical Storm Fred showed maximum sustained winds in the system were at 40 mph. That's just barely over the threshold needed for a weather system to be classified as a tropical storm.
The system was expected to continue a general westward to northwestward motion passing between the southern tip of Florida and the island of Cuba during the day on Friday. From there, forecasters expect the storm will move into the Gulf of Mexico and basically hug the west coast of Florida as it makes its way toward a landfall near Panama City.
This animated run of the GFS Forecast model shows exactly what's cooking in the tropics and gives a pretty nice "guess" as to what might be happening a little further down the road.
There are no parishes in Louisiana that are currently considered to be in the storm's cone of uncertainty at this time but long-range tropical forecasts are often adjusted. So, we can't say we are totally out of the woods with Fred but it does appear that we most likely won't feel too many of the effects of the storm.
Forecasters with the Hurricane Center are also watching a second disturbance well to the east of the Windward Islands this morning. That system is only given a 30% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone over the next five days so there is no real concern there either, at least for now.
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