TROPICAL DEPRESSION FRED 11 A.M. UPDATE: Florida braces for heavy rains as system moves away from Hispaniola


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Fred, a tropical depression, remains poorly organized as it moves away from Hispaniola Thursday morning, the National Hurricane Center said.

Fred was downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression Wednesday evening.

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At 11 a.m. ET Thursday, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour and was about 230 miles miles east of Camaguey, Cuba. It was moving west-northwest at 14 mph.

Fred is expected to be over the southeastern Bahamas Thursday and to move along or just north of eastern and central Cuba later Thursday into Friday. It should be near the Florida Keys and South Florida on Saturday.

“There could be an eventual landfall in the Florida Panhandle. But this system will stay on the weaker side,” said Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Leigh Spann.

“It should not get much stronger today or tomorrow as it heads northwest along the northern coast of Cuba,” Leigh added. “If the system holds together enough, it could turn into the Gulf of Mexico and get a little stronger heading north off the west coast of Florida. That puts the timing for rain/wind locally late Saturday through Sunday afternoon.”

Beginning Friday and into next week, South Florida could see 3 to 5 inches of rain with some areas seeing isolated amounts of 8 inches. Forecasters warn the heavy rain could lead to areal, urban, and small stream flooding, along with possible rapid river rises.

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Fred is forecast to dump 3 to 5 inches of rain on the Dominican Republic Thursday with some areas seeing isolated amounts of 8 inches. The rain could lead to dangerous flooding and mudslides. Haiti, the Turks and Caicos, eastern Bahamas and eastern Cuba could see 1 to 3 inches of rain with some areas seeing isolated amounts of 5 inches.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

Southeastern Bahamas
The Cuban provinces of Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas,
Holguin, Granma, Santiago de Cuba, and Guantanamo


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