Tropical storm Fred is now set for a landfall late on Monday in the Florida Panhandle or Big Bend area, moving slowly towards the coast with winds currently at 60 mph and a little more strengthening still forecast before landfall.
In the end, Tropical storm Fred missed southern Florida and tracked into the Gulf of Mexico, where the warmer waters helped it to begin to intensify.
The forecast models do not currently see Fred gaining hurricane status, as shear remains a factor, but it is likely to be a strong tropical storm with some gusts perhaps at hurricane speeds when it does come ashore, somewhere around the Destin to Panama City area of Florida’s Panhandle coast.
Update – 08:30 EST, 13:30 BST: The NHC hurricane hunter aircraft have found tropical storm Fred to be intensifying on approach to Florida’s coastline, with sustained winds now said to be 60 mph while Fred is also packing higher gusts.
In addition, the NHC said that Fred’s minimum central pressure has now dropped to 993mb, while the center is a little further east that the track had previously suggested. Fred is around 80 miles SSW of Apalochicola, Florida and moving north at 10 mph. A little additional strengthening is still forecast before Fred makes landfall later today, or tonight local time.
The tropical storm warning has been extended along the Florida Panhandle coast, as the NHC now says tropical-storm-force winds extend out as far as 115 miles (185 km) east of the center of Fred.
Forecasters are predicting very heavy rainfall and a dangerous storm surge from tropical storm Fred when landfall occurs later on Monday, with slight strengthening anticipated before that occurs.
4 to 8 inches of rain are widely expected, with higher totals perhaps inland as the storm moves northwards and slightly east.
Flash, urban, small stream and some river flooding are expected along tropical storm Fred’s path.
The storm surge is forecast to top out at between 3 to 5 feet between Indian Pass and Steinhatchee River, with totals up to 3 foot expected more widely along the Florida Panhandle coast.
You can see some modelled intensity guidance in the graphic below from Tropical Tidbits, which shows most of the models expect a strengthening storm as it approaches landfall later today.
Meanwhile, tropical storm Grace weakened back to a depression and is forecast to maintain its weakened state for the next couple of days as it tracks across islands and the land interaction degrades its circulation.
However, some forecasts anticipate Grace having a chance of restrengthening back to tropical storm Grace once it enters the Gulf of Mexico, with some models forecasting a chance of hurricane Grace forming.
But for the moment Grace is expected to soak Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Cuba as it passes northwest, with the chance of intensification seen as highest late Wednesday and Thursday, after which we should have a better idea of any threat posed.
You can see some modelled intensity guidance for storm Grace in the graphic below from Tropical Tidbits.
Finally, another tropical storm is forecast to form in the vicinity of Bermuda, with tropical depression eight expected to become tropical storm Henri in the coming day.
Right now it looks like storm Henri will circle Bermuda, without presenting a landfall or near pass threat, but those on the island should watch as this storm develops in case its path curves earlier than forecast.
Insurance, reinsurance and ILS market interests can keep track of this activity over on our 2021 Atlantic hurricane season page and we’ll update you should a more significant threat develop.