Tropical Storm Fred, Tropical Melancholy Grace Anger; Henri could possibly be subsequent

  • Two of the three storms could hit the US this week.
  • There could also be watery rains in the mid-Atlantic states.
  • Texas could be a destination for Grace on the Gulf Coast.

Tropical Storm Fred gained power on Monday as it sped across the Gulf of Mexico towards Florida, triggering tropical storm and storm surge warnings through the state’s panhandle.

Fred was one of three storms to swirl in the Atlantic Basin, at least two of which could hit the U.S. coast this week. Behind Fred were Tropical Storm Grace, which approached the Dominican Republic and earthquake-hit Haiti early Monday, and Tropical Depression Eight, which formed near Bermuda on late Sunday.

The US National Hurricane Center predicted the storm would intensify into Tropical Storm Henri sometime on Monday, and the island is on a tropical storm watch.

Fred aims at Florida, Alabama

Fred, driving sustained winds of 60 mph, was centered about 140 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida early Monday. The storm was pushing north at about 9 miles per hour and its gale winds reached nearly 115 miles from the center of the storm.

The hurricane center predicted that as Fred approached the panhandle and hit land in the western Florida panhandle late Monday afternoon or early evening, Fred would gain speed and strength. Southern Alabama and parts of Georgia are also likely to be the target of some of the storm’s worst damage.

Fred’s soaking rain could sweep as far as the mid-Atlantic states

The region could see up to 4-8 inches of rain with isolated maximum storm totals of 12 inches, the hurricane center warned. Southeast Alabama through western and northern Georgia and the western Carolinas could be soaked in 4-7 inches of rain with isolated maximum storm totals of 10 inches. There will be 5 to 4 inches of rain in parts of Virginia and other mid-Atlantic states through Wednesday, with isolated maximum storm totals of 6 inches expected as Fred interacts with a nearby front, the center said.

The heavy rains could lead to flooding from lightning, urban, small creeks and isolated rivers, the center said.

“Life-threatening” Fred: Tropical storm approaches Florida

“Life-threatening” storm surge possible

The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the high tide causes normally dry areas near the coast of the Panhandle to be flooded by rising water moving inland from the coast, the hurricane center warned. The storm surge could reach five feet in some areas.

“There is a risk of life-threatening flooding from rising water moving inland,” the center said.

Tropical Depression Grace approaches the Dominican Republic, Haiti

Grace was centered 160 miles east-southeast of Haiti and moving west at a speed of 15 mph. The peak winds were about 35 miles per hour, only a few miles per hour less than tropical storms, with little change in strength over the next few days. It was raining early Monday in Puerto Rico when Grace advanced into the area.

Grace was due to move over Hispaniola later in the day, and the hurricane center predicted rainfall of up to 10 inches by Tuesday could cause flooding and possible mudslides for Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In Haiti, which was hit by a major earthquake on Saturday that killed at least 1,300 people, first responders and volunteers tried to rescue survivors from the coming storm.

Texas could be Grace’s US target

Grace is due to appear in the Gulf of Mexico later this week, and the U.S. Gulf Coast could be a destination. AccuWeather forecasters said they are monitoring atmospheric conditions and how they might affect where Grace will track through the weekend. These factors include the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as winds at different levels in the atmosphere.

“Unless any other southern weather system throws Grace off course, the tropical system could target Texas,” said AccuWeather.

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Tropical Depression 8 is developing near Bermuda

Tropical Depression Eight had maximum sustained winds around 35 miles per hour and was located approximately 110 miles east of Bermuda. The storm was expected to make a “slow turn clockwise west” over the next few days, forecasters said in an expert report. The center of the depression should move southeast and south of the island territory.

Although the storm was early in development, forecasters said the storm may not reach the U.S. coast.

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