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Fred A Tropical Storm Again, Will Produce Storms And Breezes Across Tampa Bay Area

map of Tropical storm track
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network
Tropical Storm Fred predicted track as of 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15.

The heaviest bands directly associated with Fred are expected to stay offshore from the greater Tampa Bay region.

Fred strengthened back into a tropical storm Sunday morning and continues to move through the Gulf of Mexico ahead of a projected landfall in the western Florida Panhandle Monday afternoon or night.

And while it remains well off Florida’s west coast, the greater Tampa Bay region will still feel some effects Sunday and into the workweek.

As of Sunday at 8 p.m., Fred was located about 205 miles west-southwest of Tampa and is moving to the north-northwest at 10 mph. Maximum sustained winds are 45 mph with higher gusts.

A tropical storm watch is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border east to Navarre; a tropical storm warning is in effect from Navarre to the Wakulla-Jefferson County line; and a storm surge warning is in effect for the Florida coast east of the Steinhatchee River to Yankeetown.

Forecasters say Fred could produce heavy rainfall through Tuesday, starting with southern Florida and moving past the Tampa Bay area, Big Bend and Panhandle, leading to possible river flooding, and flooding in low-lying areas.

Ray Hawthorne, meteorologist with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network, said the heaviest bands directly associated with Fred will stay offshore from the greater Tampa Bay region.

Wind gusts of 15 to 30 mph are possible near the coast near any squalls, Hawthorne said, and there will be bands of heavier showers Sunday mostly from the deep moisture produced by Fred, along with heating, instability, the sea breeze, and indirect effects from Fred.

Pinellas County was under a severe thunderstorm warning shortly after 3:40 p.m. Sunday as a storm with heavy rain and winds up to 60 mph were reported in St. Petersburg.

Conditions could be similar Monday, Hawthorne said, favoring the immediate coast in the morning and inland areas during the afternoon.

Fred is expected to move into the eastern and northern Gulf through Monday.

A turn toward the north is expected on Monday, with a projected landfall Monday afternoon or evening in the western Florida Panhandle.

Gradual strengthening is expected until landfall, where it's expected to weaken quickly after moving inland.

Rain chances will continue into midweek, and Tampa Bay area beaches will see an increase in rip currents as Fred moves north, forecasters said.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Grace remains on a track very similar to Fred though taking a more westerly track once it enters the Gulf. It could also weaken as it passes between Cuba and Florida later this week, forecasters said.

Information from the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network was used in this report.

I wasn't always a morning person. After spending years as a nighttime sports copy editor and page designer, I made the move to digital editing in 2000. Turns out, it was one of the best moves I've ever made.
Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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