- Fred would be the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
- The chance the disturbance forms into a is high at 90% through 48 hours.
- Most of Florida remains in the system’s five-day forecast cone.
SARASOTA, Fla. — A disturbance swirling in the Caribbean was expected to become Tropical Storm Fred, the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday. Florida could be in the storm’s path, but forecasters said it was too early to determine the exact track.
The disturbance, labeled as PotentialSix, moved through the southern Leeward Islands overnight Monday and was about 40 miles southeast of Ponce, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday evening, according to the center. It had 40 mph maximum sustained winds and was west-northwest at 17 mph.
A tropical storm has maximum sustained winds of at least 39 mph. Potential Tropical Cyclone Six exceeded that designation Tuesday evening, and forecasters said it is close to being named Tropical Storm Fred.
Dennis Feltgen, the U.S. National Hurricane Center spokesman, told The Associated Press the system did not yet have a closed, low-level circulation. “Until that happens, we have a strong tropical wave,” he said. The center said a gradual strengthening was forecast, and the disturbance was expected to become a tropical storm.
The disturbance isnear or over the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico late Tuesday and early Wednesday, near or over Hispaniola on Wednesday, and near the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday. A tropical storm warning was for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic.
Heavy rain is likely over the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, which could lead to flash, urban, small stream flooding, and potential mudslides. The greatest will be across the eastern and southeastern portions of Puerto Rico.
Tropical storm conditions are possible elsewhere along the northern coasts of the Dominican Republic, north of Haiti, the Turks and Caicos, and the southeastern Bahamas beginning late Wednesday.
The system could intensify once it reaches the waters south of Florida or the eastern Gulf of Mexico by this, forecasters said. But that path will change depending on wind shear and whether the storm .
“The system is being guided along to the west-northwest by the circulation around a large area of high pressure over the central Atlantic,” AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said. Kottlowski said this scenario could unfold if the high-pressure area weakens and allows the system to turn more to the north. Florida and the Keys could be in the system’s path.
There have been no named storms last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that 15 to 21 named storms could develop; seven to 10 could be hurricanes.9. The 2021 Atlantic to be active. In an updated forecast
An average season spawns seven hurricanes and peaks in August, September, and October. If predictions hold, thiswill be a record sixth consecutive year of above-normal activity.
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Contributing: Doyle Rice and Jeanine Santucci