The disturbance making its way through the eastern Caribbean finally strengthened into Tropical Storm Fred on Tuesday evening as it passed just south of Puerto Rico.
It’s expected to strengthen overnight before it reaches the eastern Dominican Republic Wednesday morning. It could weaken after hitting Hispaniola on Wednesday.
“Interaction with the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola on Wednesday should result in some weakening, but tropical-storm-force winds could occur along the the north coast of the island if the center shifts a little more to right of the forecast track,” forecasters said.
With several days to go before it comes close to the state, Florida’s exact impacts are unclear.
As of the 11 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, the disorganized storm developed a defined center to match its 40-mph maximum sustained winds. It was 45 miles south southwest of Ponce, Puerto Rico, and its tropical-storm-force winds extended 45 miles from the center.
The storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall, which could lead to flash, urban, and small streamflooding across the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The hurricane center is also watching another disturbance — a tropical wave east of the Cabo Verde Islands — for signs of strengthening. It had a 30% chance of forming in the next five days and 20% in the next two as of the 8 p.m. update.
▪ The government of the Bahamas on Tuesday issued a tropical storm watch for the Turks and Caicos Islands, and for the southeastern Bahamas, including the Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana, and the Ragged Islands.
▪ A tropical storm warning remains in effect for Puerto Rico, including Culebra and Vieques, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic on the south coast from Punta Palenque eastward and on the north coast from Cabo Frances eastward.
▪ Tropical storm watches remain in effect for Martinique and Guadeloupe, the north coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Frances Viejo to the Dominican Republic/Haiti border; the northern border of Haiti with the Dominican Republic to Gonaives, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeastern Bahamas.