The system forming in the Atlantic Ocean is still a long way off from possibly impacting Jacksonville, but we’re on the edge of the forecast cone that projects it could reach South Florida by Saturday.
AS noted in the 8am update from the NHC, “The rugged terrain of Hispaniola has taken a toll on Fred. Satellite images and surface observations indicate that the circulation is stretched out and seems to resemble a trough at the surface. The system is now emerging back over water and is located between Haiti, eastern Cuba, and the southeastern Bahamas. Most of the associated showers and thunderstorms are located to the east of the estimated center, with heavy rains continuing over portions of Hispaniola. The initial intensity is estimated to be 30 kt, but there is limited data to confirm this. Both the NOAA and Air Force Hurricane Hunters will be investigating Fred later this morning, and the data from both planes will be helpful in estimating Fred’s strength and structure.”
The track would leave the system weak, with little chance of rapid intensification. RI, or rapid intensification, is a process where a tropical system intensifies quickly, something that does commonly happen in the months of August, September and early October.
At 8 a.m. Thursday, Tropical Depression Fred was located about 40 miles west-southwest of Great Inagua Island with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. It was moving west-northwest at 16 mph.
“Beginning Friday into next week, heavy rainfall associated with Fred will impact Florida and parts of the Southeast. Through Monday, 3 to 5 inches of rain is anticipated across the Keys and the southern Florida Peninsula, with isolated maximum totals of 8 inches. Heavy rainfall could lead to areal, urban, and small stream flooding, along with possible rapid river rises.” the NHC wrote in the latest advisory.
The track has the system approaching South Florida this weekend.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area.
After an active first month of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the tropics have been quiet. This year’s fifth named storm -- Hurricane Elsa -- formed July 1 and was briefly a hurricane before coming ashore in Florida’s Big Bend a week later.