Tropical Storm Fred could form in the Caribbean Tuesday afternoon and is on track to hit the United States this weekend.
The system could become a tropical depression as it moves across the Caribbean islands before it regains strength and heads for Florida’s west coast.
The storm is moving through waters that are warmer than normal with not a lot of wind shear, which makes for ripe conditions for development, NC News Network meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.
“Those sea-surface temperatures, all that warm energy from ocean water, is the fuel for these storms,” Gardner said.
While all models show the system moving toward the west coast of Florida this weekend, the European Model has the remnants of this system moving over western North Carolina early next week. It’s too early to say with any confidence where the storm is headed until later in the week, according to NCNN meteorologist Mike Maze.
Models are predicting that Tropical Depression 6 will hit Florida, and move either toward the Gulf of Mexico or north from Florida and dissipate in western North Carolina.
“The key there could be a cold front, that will be moving into the picture by Monday,” said Maze.
Flooding is going to be a concern for the Lesser Antilles, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola this week, NCNN meteorologist Peta Sheerwood said. Winds from the system are expected to top out at 40 mph as the system moves over the islands.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has predicted another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.
According to the NOAA 2021 Hurricane Forecast, we can expect 13-20 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes and 3-5 major hurricanes.