A disturbance in the eastern Caribbean Sea is expected to become Tropical Storm Fred soon. It will bring substantial rain and gusty winds to parts of the Caribbean Islands over the next few days.
The impact it may bring to Florida this weekend has yet to be determined.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has assigned a low-pressure system spreading showers and storms into the Caribbean Sea as “Potential Tropical Cyclone Six”.
Procedure allows the NHC to advertise watches and warnings ahead of time. This applies to systems that haven’t become well organized enough to be deemed a tropical depression or storm but are projected to become one.
Tropical storm watches and warnings have been issued from parts of the Lesser Antilles to the southeast Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. There is also a tropical storm warning for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, where conditions (winds of at least 39 mph) are expected to begin later Tuesday.
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands may also see between 2 to 4 inches of rainfall, which has inspired the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood watch for those areas until Wednesday evening.
Uncertain Forecast From the Caribbean to Florida
The official forecast from the NHC below shows that this system is likely to develop into Tropical Storm Fred as it progresses toward the west-northwest.
Relatively low wind shear and warm water support intensification, but dry air lurking nearby should limit it from strengthening quickly.
Some weakening of the system to a tropical depression is forecast when it moves over the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola on Wednesday. There is even the chance the system could dissipate for a time.
Later this week, future Fred or its remnants could be near Cuba and the southeast Bahamas, where some system reorganization might start.
That will depend on how much wind shear this system meets as it moves north and tracks over water rather than Cuba.
This weekend, the NHC forecast displays some intensification of the storm once it enters the waters south of Florida or the eastern Gulf of Mexico this weekend.
Please note, this forecast is highly subject to change given all of the wind shear, dry air, and land interaction obstacles the storm may encounter.
It appears a surge of moisture will arrive in Florida by this weekend, bringing concentrated areas of heavy rain.
It’s too early to determine what, if any, other impacts there might be in Florida this weekend.
For now, interests from the Caribbean to the Bahamas and Florida should monitor its progress over the coming days. Now is a good time to refresh or develop your hurricane season plans.