The National Hurricane Center on Wednesday night released an update that Tropical Storm Peace had been downgraded to a tropical depression after passing the high mountains of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
From 11 a.m. Thursday update from the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Depression Fred had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and was located approximately 230 miles east of Camaguey, Cuba. Tropical Storm Guard remained in force for parts of the Bahamas and areas of Cuba. The Florida Keys and parts of the South Florida Peninsula could be under storm guard Thursday afternoon.
The storm system is moving west-northwest at 14 mph. Although disorganized due to its interaction with land, the storm is expected to dump 3 to 5 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of 8 inches of rain in total in the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.
Slow reinforcement of the system is expected as the storm rages along Cuba’s northern coast through Friday before landing in the Florida Keys at some point during the day Saturday. The storm is then expected to drop slightly in forward speed as it turns northeast and almost reflects the trail of last month’s tropical storm Elsa. As it runs parallel to the coast of West Florida in the warm Gulf waters, combined with low winds, Fred is expected to strengthen to at least one tropical storm at mid-range with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. On the forecast path, Fred is expected to land early Monday along the Florida Panhandle like a tropical storm.
The entire Florida Peninsula, especially along the west coast, is preparing for heavy rainfall of 3 to 5 inches, with a maximum of 8 inches locally. The risk of significant flooding, especially in low-lying areas like Tampa Bay, and rapid river rises remain particularly worrying through Monday.
Tropical depression Peace is not the only disturbance that forecasters see in the Atlantic.
Invest 95L, located in the Central Atlantic, has been tagged by the National Hurricane Center with a 30 percent chance of development in 2 days and 60 percent in 5 days. As it follows a trail like Fred, environmental conditions will be favorable for development, which could result in another tropical depression early next week.
The next name on the list is Grace.
In addition, several waves could leave Africa, where they could develop into tropical cyclones in the next 10 days. As we head towards the climatological peak of the hurricane season, the Atlantic is becoming active exactly according to plan.
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