Tropical Storm Fred threatens entire countries… Tropical Storm Fred flew toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Wednesday, with meteorologists warning that heavy rains could cause dangerous floods and mudslides.
After a month of calm with no unknown storms in the area, Fred became the sixth in the Atlantic hurricane season late Tuesday as it passed through the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on a planned route that will take it to Florida over the weekend.
Tropical Storm Fred threatens entire countries
Tropical storm warnings on US soil are suspended after the islands are bombarded with rain. More than 13,000 customers in Puerto Rico have lost power, with Loma, the company responsible for the transmission and distribution system, warning those who rely on electricity for vital medical devices to activate emergency plans.
This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows Tropical Storm Fred in the Caribbean as it passed south of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic at 8:00 AM EST on Wednesday, August 11, 2021.
“The Puerto Rican system remains very fragile,” the company said, referring to the power grid destroyed by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Frid was centered 25 miles southeast of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Wednesday morning and was moving from west to northwest at 16 miles per hour, the United States National Hurricane Center reported. It had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
The Dominican Republic, Haiti, and central and eastern Cuba may be affected on Wednesday, and Florida residents have been urged to watch for updates. Forecasters said a unique center is expected to move near the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday, and move north to the north coast of central Cuba on Friday.
David Parkinson, a weather producer for CBS News, said Fred’s likely path would be through the Florida Keys like a tropical storm on Saturday morning, though landings south of Miami or in the Upper Keys cannot be ruled out.
New tropical storm unique trends threaten entire countries
If the storm took this potential path, Parkinson said, it would then head toward the Gulf of Mexico and escalate into a stronger tropical storm or weak Category 1 hurricane. The landing will occur between Sunday evening and Monday noon in the Florida Panhandle, from Pensacola to “Big Bend.”
“The only thing we’ll remember about this storm is how much rain it’s going to get,” Parkinson said. Early forecasts show at least half a foot in the Keys and southwest Florida, and possibly 9 inches in the Panhandle.
As the storm moves inland, it could fall more than 6 inches across northern South Carolina and western North Carolina. Parkinson said that part of North Carolina could experience “devastating flooding.”
Puerto Rico’s governor, Pedro Pierluisi, shut down government agencies at noon on Tuesday, and officials have indicated some gas stations are closing after they run out of fuel. Meteorologists said heavy rain was expected overnight.
Eight shelters have been opened across the island. However, officials said only about seven people had registered by mid-evening.
“Don’t wait until the last minute to mobilize,” said Nino Correa, Puerto Rico’s emergency management commissioner. “We don’t want fatal accidents.”
It’s been more than a month since the last Atlantic storm, Hurricane Elsa. But this time of summer usually marks the beginning of the peak of hurricane season.
The Hurricane Center issued warnings for the Dominican Republic on the southern coast of Ponta Palenque to the east and on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic/Haiti border to the east. There was a watch in force in Haiti from the northern border with the Dominican Republic to Gonaives and the Cuban provinces of Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, Granma, Santiago, and Guantanamo. The Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas are also included in the watch.
The storm was expected to produce 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) of rain over Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic with up to 6 inches (15 cm) in some areas.