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Tropical Storm Fred moving over the Dominican Republic

Tropical Storm Fred Advisory - 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11
Tropical Storm Fred Advisory - 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11(WCTV Pinpoint Weather)
Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 10:34 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2021 at 4:37 PM CDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Fred made it’s way inland over the Dominican Republic Wednesday afternoon as a tropical storm, but whether it can handle the mountainous terrain of the island could have impacts on the tropical cyclone’s future.

The tropical storm was located 75 miles west-northwest of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and was moving at a “somewhat uncertain” west-northwest motion at 15 mph according to the 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Maximum sustained winds decreased to 40 mph with a minimum central pressure of 1007 millibars.

A NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane was en route to Fred Wednesday evening. The data from the flight will help give forecasters and computer weather models a better idea of what the storm is doing and what the surrounding environment is like.

The cloud tops of Fred have warmed since making landfall, hinting at lower thunderstorm tops and decreasing intensity. The water vapor imagery also continued to hint at southwesterly wind shear, which was acting like a double-whammy to Fred on top of moving into a mountainous terrain.

How it emerges back over ocean water Thursday and reorganizes will determine whether it can remain a tropical cyclone at all. The official forecast has it regaining tropical-storm strength by Friday and move into the Florida Straits Friday night. If moves and stays inland over Cuba, then the storm will struggle to maintain intensity.

There are two scenarios based on the official forecast after moving northwestward out of the Florida Straits:

1) If it moves into the Gulf of Mexico, it will be over warm water to help sustain itself. But wind shear may continue to be a problem for Fred when it moves through the eastern Gulf. Still, higher rain chances would be likely at the very least as the viewing area would see the “dirty” (eastern) side of Fred.

2) If it moves over the Florida peninsula, the lack of ocean heat energy and wind shear will likely keep Fred on the very weak side. If the storm moved closer to the edge of the cone of uncertainty, the impacts to the western Big Bend and Southwest Georgia could be lower.

Based on those scenarios, exact impacts for the viewing area remain uncertain as of Wednesday evening. Fred will need to be monitored through the end of the work week into the weekend.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Tropical Storm Fred’s center of circulation was moving into southeastern Dominican Republic Wednesday afternoon as the storm appeared to be better organized.

Maximum sustained winds remained at 45 mph as of the 2 p.m. intermediate advisory as it moved west-northwestward at 16 mph.

Fred is forecast to bring heavy rain and the threat of flooding and mudslides to the country. Lower rainfall amounts are possible over Haiti, the Turks and Caicos, the eastern Bahamas and Cuba according to the National Hurricane Center.

Convection appeared to be more robust on the storm’s northern side based on infrared satellite imagery Wednesday afternoon, but that may change as it moves over the island and the mountainous terrain disrupts the low-level center of Fred.

The next full update from the National Hurricane Center is set to be released at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Fred was nearing the southeastern Dominican Republic coastline Wednesday morning after being named Tuesday night, but it had a sloppy appearance on satellite imagery as it continued to fight drier air and wind shear.

The tropical storm was located 25 miles southeast of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic according to the 11 a.m. Wednesday advisory from the National Hurricane Center. The storm was traveling west-northwestward at 16 mph. Maximum sustained winds increased to 40 mph and a minimum central pressure of 1006 millibars.

Though convection appeared not-so-stellar late Wednesday morning, the National Hurricane Center noted that the center became better defined with a NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane finding higher winds. Fred continued to encounter higher wind shear because of an upper-level trough of low pressure over the Florida peninsula and the western Bahamas, which limits tropical cyclone development and sustainability. Forecasters said that the shear could persist at least through Friday as it either moves over Cuba or reenters the water just north of the island.

The general forecast track hasn’t changed much since Tuesday night’s update as Fred is anticipated to move into either the eastern Gulf of Mexico or the Florida Peninsula during the weekend. Uncertainty in strength still lies ahead - especially if it decides to move through the island of Cuba instead of staying north of the island and over the water.

It’s still too early to give specific impacts to the Big Bend and South Georgia as exact strength and location was still unknown as of Wednesday morning. What is certain is moisture from Fred will likely increase rain chances in the viewing area over the weekend - especially Sunday.

This is a good time to go through hurricane plans and kits before Fred approaches the region over the weekend. The Pinpoint Weather Team will continue to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Fred.

This story was updated to add information from the 11 a.m. Wednesday advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The tropical wave that moved into the Caribbean Sea Monday night was crowned Tropical Storm status by the National Hurricane Center Tuesday night.

Tropical Storm Fred was found to have an improved low-level center of circulation based on radar imagery from San Juan, Puerto Rico Tuesday night, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. discussion. Despite that improvement, they said that the mid-level center of Fred remained 40 nautical miles to the south of the surface circulation, indicating that it still has some organization left to go.

Maximum sustained winds were at 40 mph as it moved due-west at 17 mph as of the 11 p.m. Tuesday advisory. The center of Fred was 45 miles south-southwest of Ponce, Puerto Rico with a minimum central pressure of 1009 millibars.

A west-northwestward trek is forecast to resume according to the official forecast and make landfall in the Dominican Republic Wednesday. The storm is forecast to emerge back over the water Wednesday night and likely be weaker as the mountainous terrain of the island disrupts Fred’s circulation. It’s then forecast to travel west-northwesterly around the southwestern edge of a ridge of high pressure either over Cuba or just north of the island and into the Florida Straits by Friday.

The official forecast still has the Big Bend and South Georgia under the cone of uncertainty for days four and five in the official forecast as it either moves into the eastern Gulf of Mexico or into the Florida Peninsula as a tropical storm during the weekend. Questions do remain about the strength of Fred as there is uncertainty in not only the exact path (land soon vs. more ocean fuel in the Gulf) but also atmospheric conditions that will let the storm maintain or gain strength without wind shear. Because of the distance in time, exact details on impacts can not be established as of this update.

Those in Florida and South Georgia should continue to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Fred into the weekend.

This story was updated to correct the maximum sustained wind speed in the 11 p.m. advisory.

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