Tropical Storm Fred Won't Prompt Evacuation Orders in Florida Keys

A Tropical Storm Watch was issued for the Florida Keys, where Tropical Depression Fred is expected to hit on Saturday, but officials said no evacuations are planned, the Associated Press reported.

People in campgrounds, recreational vehicles, travel trailers, live-aboard vessels and mobile homes are advised to seek shelter in a safe structure for the duration of the storm, county emergency management officials said.

Fred might regain its tropical storm status as it leaves Cuba on Friday, ahead its projected track toward the Florida Keys and southwest Florida, forecasters said. Southwest Florida will likely see the storm hit on Sunday.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Tropical Storm Image
A Tropical Storm Watch was issued for the Florida Keys, where officials said there are no plans for residents or tourists to evacuate. This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical Storm Fred in the Caribbean as it passes south of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic at 8 a.m. ET on August 11, 2021. NOAA/NESDIS/STAR GOES via AP

Meanwhile, still east of the Caribbean Sea, forecasters were watching a disturbance that they said would likely become Grace, the seventh named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Island governments issued a Tropical Storm Watch for Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Montserrat. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also were warned to monitor its progress.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said Fred had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph) and was dropping heavy rain over parts of Cuba, where the main threats were rain and flooding. A tropical storm warning was issued Friday morning for the Florida Keys and Florida Bay, and a watch was in place for southwest Florida.

The hurricane center said 3 to 7 inches (7.5 to 18 centimeters) of rain were expected across the Florida Keys and southern peninsula by Monday, with isolated maximums of 10 inches (25 centimeters).

Once a tropical storm, Fred weakened back to a depression by its spin over Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where it knocked out power to some 400,000 customers and caused flooding that forced officials to shut down part of the country's aqueduct system, interrupting water service for hundreds of thousands of people. Local officials reported hundreds of people were evacuated and some buildings were damaged.

Fred's center was about 270 miles (430 kilometers) east-southeast of Key West, Florida. That was also about 70 miles (115 kilometers) north-northwest of Camaguey, Cuba. It was still headed west-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).

The system was expected to produce 3 to 5 inches (7.5 to 12.5 centimeters) of rain across the Dominican Republic and the western Bahamas, as well as 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.5 centimeters) over Haiti, the Turks and Caicos, the eastern Bahamas, and Cuba.

Fred became the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season late Tuesday as it moved past the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Evacuation Route Stock Image
Florida Keys officials said there are no plans to issue evacuation orders for residents and tourists in the area for Tropical Depression Fred, which is projected to hit the area on Saturday. Getty Images