Saturday, December 4

Florida Issues Tropical Storm Warning for Panhandle Region As Fred Approaches | Florida

The Florida governor declared a state of emergency for the state’s Panhandle when Tropical Storm Fred swept through the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday and parts of the Caribbean were bracing for the impact of Tropical Storm Grace.

Fred was forecast to cross the Gulf before reaching shore Monday night or Tuesday morning, forecasters said. They said that people from Alabama to the central Florida Panhandle should monitor the progress of the system.

A tropical storm warning is now in effect for the Florida strip coast from Navarra to the Wakulla / Jefferson County line, which means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area in the next few 24 hours. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the Florida Panhandle coast from the Alabama-Florida border to Navarre.

Fred’s maximum sustained winds were at 40 mph (65 km / h) Sunday morning. In anticipation of Fred, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the state’s Panhandle region. And Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement Saturday saying her administration was monitoring the weather and “will be ready to act from the state level if necessary.”

Fred was located early Sunday morning about 335 miles (555 km) south-southeast of Pensacola, Florida, and was moving north-northwest at 12 mph.

Fred had been downgraded to tropical wave on Saturday. Tropical waves can contain heavy winds and heavy rains, but they do not circulate around a central point or an “eye” like a tropical storm or hurricane.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Grace was 85 miles south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sunday morning. Forecasters said heavy rains from the system would fall on parts of the Lesser and Greater Antilles in the coming days.

Tropical storm warnings have been issued for the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and part of the Dominican Republic, meaning they will likely be hit by Grace. A tropical storm watch was also issued for Haiti, which is already dealing with the devastation of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake this weekend that has left more than 700 people dead.

Grace had maximum sustained winds of around 40 mph. The storm was moving from west to northwest at 16 mph. Both Grace and Fred, regardless of their stormy state, posed a threat from heavy rain and flooding, forecasters said.

Grace forecast total rainfall of around 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 cm) for the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, through Tuesday. Fred was forecast to bring 4-8 inches to Florida’s Big Bend and the Panhandle from Sunday night through Tuesday.

A tropical storm earlier in the week, Fred had weakened to a depression as it turned over Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where it left some 400,000 customers without power and triggered flooding that forced officials to shut down part of the country’s aqueduct system. , interrupting the water supply. service for hundreds of thousands of people.

Local officials reported that hundreds of people were evacuated and some buildings were damaged.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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