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Monday, July 4, 2022

Florida braces for one-two punch from Fred and Grace

The latest forecast models from the National Hurricane Center show Tropical Depression Fred on course to reach the Florida Keys by Saturday afternoon, then skirting up the coast of the mainland toward the state’s Panhandle.

After passing over the island of Hispaniola on Wednesday, Fred was downgraded from a tropical storm, but it is expected to regain strength as it heads into the warm Gulf waters off the Florida coast. A tropical storm warning was in effect for the Keys according to the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. ET advisory update on Friday.

Path of Tropical Depression Fred. (National Hurricane Center)

Fred brings the potential of heavy rain and flood impacts to both the Keys and the Panhandle, where it is forecast to arrive as a tropical storm on Monday afternoon.

“As #Fred approaches, South Florida & Gulf Coast residents should expect heavy rainfall this weekend through Monday,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted Friday. “Floridians should have multiple ways to receive weather alerts & avoid flooded areas. Follow @FLSERT & @NHC_Atlantic for updates.”

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Seven, which is expected to strengthen into Tropical Storm Grace, is right behind Fred. The National Hurricane Center first put out notice on the newly formed storm Thursday. It is following a westward path and is expected to make landfall in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Sunday evening. Tropical storm watches are in effect there and for the Leeward Islands.

Path of Tropical Depression Seven

Path of Tropical Depression Seven. (National Hurricane Center)

Bands of tropical showers and thunderstorms are already hitting parts of South Florida ahead of Fred’s trajectory, according to the National Weather Service. As the storm strengthens and moves northwest, tropical storm conditions will bring more rain and the prospect of scattered flash flooding to South Florida on Saturday. Southeastern Georgia and portions of Alabama can also expect impacts from Fred on Sunday.

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