TROPICS 8AM UPDATE: Fred heads west; Grace forms as tropical storm

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This post has been archived. For the most update to date coverage of Tropical Depression Fred and Tropical Storm Grace, click here.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) —Fred, still a tropical depression, has continued moving along the northern coast of Cuba, dumping heavy rain over portions of the island country.

In its 8 a.m. ET advisory Saturday , the National Hurricane Center said Fred had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. It was moving west at 13 miles per hour. The shift west has now caused Tampa Bay to no longer be in the forecast path, however, impacts can still be felt in the bay area.

Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Leigh Spann said Fred was “expected to slowly strengthen (Friday) and possibly become a tropical storm again.”

“The big question is exactly when the storm turns to the north and begins to track up Florida’s west coast,” Leigh added.

Fred is forecast to continue moving west-northwest along or just north of eastern and central Cuba. A turn to the north is expected Friday night or on Saturday when it nears the Florida Keys. It should be near the west coast of Florida on Sunday, forecasters predict.

“The timing of the worst weather for us remains basically unchanged,” Leigh said. “Gustier conditions Saturday with some stronger wind gusts Sunday. Sunday will also be a rainy day with some tropical downpours possible. Those downpours may lead to localized flooding but no “surge” is really expected. Coastal areas south of Tampa Bay may have higher tides Sunday morning.”

Parts of Florida, including the Keys, south and central Florida north toward Big Bend, could see 3 to 6 inches of rain Friday through Monday, with some areas seeing isolated amounts of 8 inches. Forecasters warn the heavy rain could lead to areal, urban and small stream flooding, and could potentially worsen river flooding in northern Florida.

The heavy rain could move into portions of the southeastern United States and into the southern and central Appalachians.

Fred is expected to dump 2 to 5 inches of rain over Cuba and the eastern Bahamas with some areas seeing isolated amounts of 8 inches. The Bahamas could see 1 to 3 inches of rain with isolated maximum totals of 5 inches.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Grace formed early Saturday with a similar path to Fred over the Caribbean Islands. The storm isn’t expected to shouldn’t strengthen much due to wind shear and land interaction

It currently has mas sustained winds of 40 miles per hour and is moving west at 22 miles per hour.

Any impacts to Florida would be late next week. 

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…

  • The Florida Keys west of the Seven Mile Bridge to the Dry Tortugas

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Friday evening he has issued a state of emergency for 23 counties, including Citrus and Manatee, ahead of Tropical Depression Fred’s path up the west coast of the Sunshine State.

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