Tracking The Tropics: Fred to become a tropical storm this weekend with possible landfall on the Florida Panhandle Monday

Tracking the Tropics
October 02 2021 06:00 pm

Tropical Depression Fred remains poorly organized. It is located over Central Cuba. This is farther south than what was forecast for this time period. Most of the thunderstorms are displaced east of the center. The depression is battling moderate wind shear, but it is expected to lessen slightly during the next few days. Fred is moving to the west, and this means it may spend more time over Cuba vs. the water. That could change a few things in the forecast. First, this could possibly weaken, or dissipate the system is it stays over land. Second, the westward motion could also mean that, if it survives, it would enter the Gulf of Mexico farther to the west. That would then change the forecast track. Lastly, there is a chance the center could redevelop back to the east where all of the thunderstorms are located.

Fred is expected to turn WNW as it moves along the southern edge of a ridge of high pressure over the western Atlantic Ocean. On this track, Fred will move back over water along the Florida Straits and into the SE Gulf of Mexico this weekend near Key West, FL. It will then round the western edge of the high pressure this weekend, and that will cause it to turn north in the eastern Gulf.

Fred will be battling dry air, moderate wind shear and moving near land the next few days. Due to these features, the intensity will be weak, and it is not expected to strengthen through today. Once Fred moves into the Gulf of Mexico the wind shear will relax a little and Fred will be sitting over very warm water. Some strengthening back to a tropical storm is expected, but it will all depend on how close it tracks to the Florida Peninsula. There will also be an upper-level low north of the system, and this could cause Fred to not get as strong due to some additional wind shear.

Right now, there is A LOT of uncertainty in the forecast. Fred must survive its trek to the Gulf first. If it does, then it is possible a tropical storm could make landfall on Monday on the Florida Panhandle near Panama City. Forecast models are now showing it move a little more to the west, so the forecast track has been shifted slightly to the west. IF Fred takes this path, we will see some rain, but since most of Alabama will be on the western side (drier side) of the storm the worst of the rain will be over Georgia. Make sure you check back for updates.

We are also now tracking Tracking Tropical Depression 7. It was formerly Invest 95L located about 675 miles east of the Lesser Leward Islands. It is becoming better organized and it will likely become Tropical Storm Grace as it reaches the Leeward Islands on Saturday night and the Virgin Islands on Sunday. Since it is expected to develop quickly, the NHC has started advisories for PTC 7 and issues tropical storm watches for the islands. Forecast models take this system across the far northeast Caribbean, across the Greater Antilles, and then possibly impacting south Florida by the middle of next week.

Elsewhere…the rest of the tropics will be quiet for the next 5 days.

That’s all for now!  Be sure to follow the CBS 42 Storm Team on:

Facebook: Chief Meteorologist Ashley Gann, Meteorologist Dave Nussbaum, Meteorologist Griffin Hardy and Meteorologist Michael Haynes

Twitter: @Gannweather, @Dave_Nussbaum, @GriffinHardyWX, @MichaelHaynes for more Birmingham weather updates anytime!

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