Tropical Storm Fred Path, Update as Storm Hurtles Towards Florida

Tropical Storm Fred formed on Tuesday night off the coast of Puerto Rico, with the extreme weather expected to reach the U.S. later in the week and make landfall over the Florida Keys.

In a release at around 8:00 a.m. EST on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) confirmed that the storm had been recorded with wind speeds of up to 40 mph about 50 miles from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean.

The center said it had put a Tropical Storm Warning in place for the northern border of Haiti with the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and for the Southeastern Bahamas on Wednesday.

The NHC explained that a warning is issued when tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere in the threatened area within 12 hours of it being issued.

Heavy rain is expected to hit islands in the Caribbean over the next two days, with the NHC forecasting up to six inches to hit the Dominican Republic and five inches to strike Haiti, the Turks and Caicos and eastern parts of the Bahamas.

Storm Fred probable path
A map provided by the National Hurricane Center on Wednesday August 11 showing the probable path of Storm Fred. National Hurricane Center

The NHC said those areas are likely to be hit with flooding from Wednesday through to Thursday, as the "greatest threat for flooding impacts will be across the eastern and southeastern portions of Puerto Rico."

A map of the projected path of Storm Fred, published by the NHC on Wednesday, showed that the storm is expected to hit Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi in the days following landfall in the U.S.

CNN meteorologist Michael Guy reported that the storm is not expected to grow into a hurricane, which a storm is classified as when wind speeds reach 74 mph, before it makes landfall in South Florida on Friday.

The storm is expected to hit Florida as the state grapples with a dramatic increase in the number of new COVID cases and deaths, alongside a record number of hospitalizations, stretching the state's healthcare system.

Florida has already had to deal with extreme weather earlier this summer, as Fred is the sixth named storm of the Atlantic season, but is just the first since Elsa developed into a Category 1 hurricane in early July.

Elsa caused heavy flooding as it worked its way up the eastern seaboard of the U.S., eventually hitting New York City with sustained rainfall.

The storm, which claimed one life in Florida, hit New York City on in early July with thunderstorms, causing subway stations to be flooded in several areas of the city.

Videos posted to social media showed people attempting to wade through a flooded station, while water poured down from the ceiling and cascaded down the stairs of others.

Flooding in Florida
A car drives along the waterfront as Tropical Storm Elsa makes landfall on July 7, 2021 in Cedar Key, Florida. Tropical Storm Fred formed on Tuesday night off the coast of Puerto Rico, with the extreme weather expected to reach the U.S. later in the week making landfall over the Florida Keys. Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images