Fred will move closer to the Florida Panhandle today. At the same time, a trough of low pressure is sitting over the eastern U.S. and Alabama. This will help set off scattered showers and thunderstorms today across the Birmingham area. High temperatures will be in the mid 80s.
Fred will make landfall this evening on the Florida Panhandle near Panama City Beach as a strong tropical storm. It will track north tonight into SE Alabama. Fred will be battling winds shear thanks to the trough of low pressure. This will push most of the rain to the east of the center of circulation. We will have some outer rain bands move into central Alabama tonight with a light breeze as Fred moves more inland. Lows will be in the lower 70s.
What is left of Fred will track north into east-central Alabama on Tuesday. This will bring heavy rain and a breeze to areas east of I-65. Some minor flooding issues are possible with rain totals around 1-2″ possible. The tornado threat will be very low in Alabama, but higher once you cross over into Georgia. Areas west of I-65 will not see much rain on Tuesday. It will be warm and humid with high temperatures in the lower 80s. The rain will gradually come to an end on Tuesday night with lows in the 70s.
Fred will be well northeast of Alabama on Wednesday. However, there will be plenty of tropical moisture left over central Alabama for the next few days. Expect scattered showers and thunderstorms to develop each afternoon Wednesday through Friday. High temperatures will be in the mid to upper 80s.
Weekend Outlook: An area of high pressure will build over the Deep South this weekend. It will not dry us out, but we will see just a few pop-up afternoon showers and thunderstorms. High temperatures will climb back to around 90° Saturday and Sunday.
Tracking the Tropics: Tropical Storm Fred is in the northeast Gulf of Mexico just south of Panama City, FL. It is battling some strong wind shear from a trough of low pressure over the eastern U.S. Fred is moving along the western edge of the high pressure that is sitting over the Atlantic, and this is why it is moving to the north. Fred is forecast to get a little stronger before it makes landfall this afternoon or early evening near Panama City Beach, FL. Sustained winds could be around 65-70+ mph at landfall.
Once it moves inland tonight, Fred will weaken quickly down to a tropical depression and then remnant low on Tuesday as it moves north along the AL/GA border. On this track, heavy rain and gusty winds will move across southeastern Alabama tonight and far eastern Alabama on Tuesday. The heaviest rain will be located east of the center over Georgia thanks to the wind shear from the trough. The rain will come to an end on Tuesday evening as Fred tracks northeast to near Knoxville, TN.
Tropical Depression Grace is sitting just south of Hispaniola and remains disorganized. Grace is moving toward the west, and it is now expected to make a shift to the south according to the forecast models. It will move along the southern edge of a mid-level ridge of high pressure that is over the western Atlantic. This track would put Grace moving south of Cuba now verses over the island. There is still plenty of uncertainty in the forecast due to Grace being impacted by the mountainous terrain on Hispaniola.
The depression is now expected to remain over warm water, and there is not a lot of wind shear. This could cause Grace to get stronger before it reaches the Yucatan Peninsula. Then it is forecast to track into the western Gulf of Mexico later this week, and some strengthening is possible at that time. Grace is not expected to be a threat to the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical Depression 8 formed last night well off the U.S. East Coast, or east of Bermuda. It is battling wind shear, but it is forecast to become a tropical storm later today. TD 8 will turn clockwise around Bermuda in the next few days as a strong tropical storm. Some of the models are showing it could become a hurricane in the next 72 hours. It will stay off the U.S. East Coast and track back out to sea by this weekend. This is not a threat to the U.S.
Elsewhere…the rest of the tropics are quiet.
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