TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Much of the Florida Keys is under a tropical storm warning Friday morning as Fred’s center moves near the north coast of Cuba.
Fred, still a tropical depression, is “expected to slowly strengthen today and possibly become a tropical storm again,” said Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Leigh Spann.
“The big question is exactly when the storm turns to the north and begins to track up Florida’s west coast,” Leigh added.
At about 8 a.m. ET, Fred was about 315 miles east-southeast of Key West with maximum sustained winds or 35 mph. It was moving west-northwest at 10 mph.
The system is forecast to move along or just north of eastern and central Cuba Friday, then near the Florida Keys on Saturday. It should be near the west coast of Florida on Sunday, forecasters predict.
“The timing of the worst weather for us remains basically unchanged,” Leigh said. “”Gustier conditions Saturday with some stronger wind gusts Sunday. Sunday will also be a rainy day with some tropical downpours possible. Those downpours may lead to localized flooding but no “surge” is really expected. Coastal areas south of Tampa Bay may have higher tides Sunday morning.”
Parts of Florida, including the Keys, south and central Florida north toward Big Bend, could see 3 to 7 inches of rain with some areas seeing isolated amounts of 10 inches. Forecasters warn the heavy rain could lead to areal, urban and small stream flooding, and could potentially worsen river flooding in northern Florida.
The heavy rain could move into portions of the southeastern United States and into the southern and central Appalachians.
Fred is expected to dump 1 to 3 inches of rain over Cuba and the eastern Bahamas with some areas seeing isolated amounts of 5 inches. The western Bahamas could see 3 to 5 inches of rain with isolated maximum totals of 8 inches.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
The Florida Keys west of Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:
The Cuban provinces of Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas,
Holguin, and Granma
The southwest coast of Florida from Englewood south and east to