Tropical Storm Fred, the season’s sixth named storm, is predicted to weaken and possibly shift course as it hits the Dominican Republic today, federal forecasters said.
“Some adjustments to the track may be necessary as the center interacts with the mountains of Hispaniola during the next 12-24 hours,” said National Hurricane Center forecaster Jack Beven.
In Key Biscayne, Village officials have already been making preparations in case watches and warnings are posted, said Fire Chief Eric Lang.
“The Village is ready for what looks like a water and wind event,” he said. Lang said sandbags will be available if a warning is issued for the island.
The official forecast calls for Fred to weaken to a depression, and then again become a tropical storm as it parallels the northern coast of Cuba and into the Florida Straits. South Florida could see tropical-storm force winds Friday night, according to the forecast.
“There is an increasing risk of wind and rainfall impacts in Florida beginning Friday night or early Saturday in the Keys and spreading northward through portions of the Peninsula and the Panhandle Saturday through Monday,” the center said. Three to five inches of rain could fall in Florida, with some spots getting as much as eight inches.
At 11 a.m., Eastern Time, the storm was about 25 miles south-southeast of Santo Domingo, headed west-northwest at 16 miles-per-hour, with top winds of 45 miles-per-hour. Tropical storm force winds extend 60 miles from the center.