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WBTV Tropical Storm Tracker: Tracking three tropical systems

The storm isn’t done yet.
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 9:43 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2021 at 9:49 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - WBTV Tropical Storm Tracker: Here’s the latest on what to expect.

» This update is from August 16, 2021, at 7:45 p.m. from WBTV First Alert Meteorologist Jason Myers.

Tropical Storm Fred made landfall around Apalachicola, Florida about 3:15 PM (ET) Monday, and is expected to pass west of the WBTV viewing late Tuesday into early Wednesday. Heavy rainfall will develop across the Carolinas on Tuesday, as tropical moisture continues to stream into the region. The threat for severe storms will develop for Tuesday afternoon and evening, with isolated tornadoes possible.

We are also tracking Tropical Depression Grace, which will pass south of Cuba Tuesday through Wednesday, and over the Yucatan Peninsula late Wednesday into early Thursday. Grace is expected to strengthen into a category 1 hurricane on Friday, making landfall in Mexico late Friday into early Saturday. As of Monday evening, winds are at 35 mph, with a movement to the west-northwest at 13 mph.

Tropical Storm Henri has developed in the Central Atlantic, near Bermuda, and is expected to linger around Bermuda all week. Henri has winds of 40 mph, and is expected to stay a tropical storm this week.

Stay weather aware for more tropical updates!

Meteorologist Jason Myers

» This update is from August 16, 2021, at 11:32 a.m. from WBTV First Alert Meteorologist Leigh Brock.

Tropical Storm Fred is within hours of making landfall along the Florida panhandle. Winds are currently sustained at 60 miles per hour (mph) and the storm is moving N at 10mph.

The latest track is similar to what it was earlier today. Still, for us here in the Carolinas, heavy rain will be the biggest threat - especially in the mountains and foothills. Those who have seen day after day of rain will also be more susceptible to flooding. The heaviest rain should fall here between Tuesday and Wednesday. While it is hard to give exact totals when you’re talking about tropical-type rain, you can see from the graphic that the heaviest rain should fall closer to the mountains and foothills.

Stay tuned to WBTV for the very latest and download our free WBTV Weather app today.

-Meteorologist Leigh Brock

» This update is from August 16, 2021, at 9 a.m. from WBTV First Alert Meteorologist Leigh Brock.

Tropical Storm Fred will bring heavy rain and dangerous storm surge to the Florida panhandle today. Winds are sustained at 50 miles per hour (mph) and it is moving north at 9mph. The center of Fred should continue north and make landfall this afternoon or evening.

The biggest threat for the WBTV viewing area will be heavy rain. We could see showers and thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. The heaviest rain should fall on Tuesday, followed by more spotty showers on Wednesday. Rainfall totals could be high for the mountains and foothills especially. However, any of us could pick up 1-2″ of rain by the time the remnants begin to die out on Wednesday.

Rainfall forecast
Rainfall forecast(First Alert Weather)

Flooding will be the biggest concern for people who have already gotten several big storms. If you get more, this could put you over the top. When we get lots of rain, the ground becomes saturated. While gusty winds don’t seem to be a huge threat, it doesn’t always take too much for those beautiful, old trees to come down. There’s also a small risk of severe weather, as there is with any landfalling tropical system.

Tropical Depression Grace will cause flash flooding and mudslides across the Dominican Republic today. Winds are currently 35mph and it is moving W at 15mph. It will begin to strengthen a bit as it moves toward the Gulf of Mexico later this week. So far, it doesn’t seem to be a treat to the Carolinas.

Tropical tracker
Tropical tracker(First Alert Weather)

Tropical Depression Eight has winds of 35mph and is moving south at 9mph. It is expected to go more or less in a circle and remain off the east coast.

Stay tuned to WBTV for the latest on the tropics.

- Meteorologist Leigh Brock

» This update is from August 14, 2021, at 11:14 a.m. from WBTV First Alert Meteorologist Leigh Brock.

As of the 11 a.m. National Hurricane Center update, Fred has degenerated into a tropical wave. Winds are 35mph and it is moving WNW at 12mph. However, the storm isn’t done yet.

It is expected to regenerate tomorrow as it moves out over the Gulf of Mexico. The rest of the track and the forecast for the Carolinas hasn’t changed much from earlier this morning.

Tropical Storm Grace has strengthened a bit. Winds are at 45mph and it is moving W at 23mph. Conditions will deteriorate in the Leeward Islands this afternoon and tonight. This storm is likely to weaken a bit as it moves over the Greater Antilles Sunday night through Monday night. This storm is expected to move along a track similar to Fred and toward the Gulf of Mexico by late this week.

We will continue to monitor the situation in the WBTV weather center.

Meteorologist Leigh Brock

» This update is from August 14, 2021, at 9:53 a.m. from WBTV First Alert Meteorologist Leigh Brock.

The tropics are becoming more active by the day.

The first concern is still Tropical Storm Fred. The storm is currently pretty disorganized and has winds of only 35mph. It is moving WNW at 13mph. Fred is expected to pass west of the lower Florida Keys this afternoon and back out into the Gulf of Mexico tonight and Monday. It should make landfall Monday afternoon or evening along the Gulf Coast.

Tropical Depression Fred
Tropical Depression Fred(First Alert Weather)

Current models are taking the storm to the west of us. That would seem like good news, but it may not make much of a difference as far as rainfall across the Carolinas. A cold front will pull into the area on Sunday. That will give us the chance for thunderstorms that aren’t even related to Fred. The front is expected to stall out just south of us. Then plenty of moisture out ahead of Fred will stream into the Carolinas. The interaction between the two will give us a good chance for rain Monday, Tuesday and possibly into Wednesday.

First Alert Futurecast
First Alert Futurecast(First Alert Weather)

The exact track and timing are still coming into focus, but we just want to give you a heads up that tropical rain is possible the first half of next week. If you get rain day after day, obviously flooding could become a concern. Plus depending on the track, strong to severe storms could be a possibility.

The next storm we are watching is Grace. This storm is quickly moving toward the Leeward Islands at 22mph. Sustained winds are 40mph. This storm is expected to move over the leeward Islands tonight. It will impact the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Sunday. This track is very similar to that of Fred, as you can see on the graphic featuring both storms.

Stay tuned to WBTV for the very latest.

- Meteorologist Leigh Brock

» This update is from August 13, 2021, at 7:02 p.m. from WBTV First Alert Meteorologist Jason Myers.

As of the 5 PM Friday update from the National Hurricane Center, Fred is a Tropical Depression with winds of 35 mph, and is moving to the west at 12 mph.

Heavy rainfall is impacting Cuba, and will continue to overspread the Florida Keys overnight into Saturday, as this system strengthens over the weekend, and moves into the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

A Florida Panhandle landfall is expected around midday Monday, with Fred forecasted to be a tropical storm, with possible winds of 60 mph.

The latest track from the National Hurricane Center, takes the center of circulation with this tropical system into the Tennessee Valley. With a more westward trend, that would mean less rain and wind impacts for the Carolinas. If Fred tracks further east, we can expect higher rainfall in the Carolinas.

At this point, the best chance for heavy rain from Fred is more likely for the NC mountains, late Monday through Wednesday. Strong to severe storms are possible if the track takes the system further east and closer to the WBTV viewing area.

Tropical Depression #7 formed on Friday and is expected to become Tropical Storm Grace this weekend. The latest forecast track takes T.D. #7 toward Cuba on Tuesday.

Stay weather aware for more tropical updates!

Meteorologist Jason Myers

» This update is from August 13, 2021, at 1:05 p.m. from WBTV First Alert Meteorologist Jason Myers.

As of the 11 a.m. Friday update from the National Hurricane Center, Fred is a Tropical Depression, with winds of 35 mph, and is moving to the west-northwest at 12 mph.

Fred is located along the northern coast of Cuba, and will continue to drift toward the Florida Keys tonight into Saturday morning; this system is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm this weekend, as it moves into the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical tracker
Tropical tracker(First Alert Weather)

A Florida Panhandle landfall is expected Sunday night into Monday, with Fred forecasted to be a tropical storm, with winds of around 50 mph.

The latest track from the National Hurricane Center, takes the center of circulation with this tropical system into the Tennessee Valley. With a more westward trend, that would mean less rain and wind impacts for the Carolinas. If Fred tracks further east, we can expect higher rainfall in the Carolinas.

At this point, the best chance for heavy rain from Fred is more likely for the NC mountains, late Monday into Tuesday, and may even linger into Wednesday. Depending on the track that Fred takes, the local WBTV viewing area may see rainfall of 0.10″ to more than 2.00″ for Monday into Tuesday. Strong to severe storms are possible if the track takes the system further east and closer to the WBTV viewing area.

Tropical weather outlook
Tropical weather outlook(First Alert Weather)

Potential Tropical Cyclone #7 formed Friday morning and is expected to become Tropical Storm Grace this weekend. Weather models are still having a hard time picking up on where exactly this tropical system will go, yet the official track from the National Hurricane Center, takes this disturbance along a path that follows in the footsteps of Fred, moving toward Puerto Rico, Haiti, and Cuba. Other weather data shows more impacts for the Carolinas, from this system, by around August 25.

Either way, make sure you stay up to date with the latest forecast.

» This update is from August 13, 2021, at 8:08 a.m. from WBTV First Alert Meteorologist Al Conklin.

As of the 8 a.m. update today from the National Hurricane Center, Fred is still a Tropical Depression, with winds of 35 mph, moving to the west-northwest at 10 mph about 300 miles east-southeast of Key West, Florida.

Fred is forecast to continue to drift along the northern coast of Cuba today, bringing heavy rain and gusty winds before turning its attention to Florida over the weekend. Fred is anticipated to regain tropical storm strength by later today and hold that status as it moves up through the eastern Gulf of Mexico, offshore of Florida’s west coast, this weekend.

Tropical satellite
Tropical satellite(First Alert Weather)

On this track, the storm would make two Florida landfalls. The first would be early Saturday morning in the Keys and the second would be along the panhandle Sunday night into Monday morning.

From there, Fred is forecast to move northward along the Alabama and Georgia state line, and toward the Southern Appalachian Mountains on Tuesday.

At this point, heavy rain from Fred is possible across the Carolinas Monday into Tuesday and may even linger into Wednesday. Depending on the track that Fred takes, the local WBTV viewing area may see appreciable rainfall and severe weather would be possible as well.

In addition to Tropical Depression Fred, we are closely monitoring another weather disturbance in the Central Atlantic, that may develop into a tropical system in the coming days.

» This update is from August 12, 2021, at 6:02 p.m. from WBTV First Alert Meteorologist Jason Myers.

As of the 5 PM Thursday update from the National Hurricane Center, Fred is a Tropical Depression, with winds of 35 mph, and is moving to the west-northwest at 12 mph.

Fred is expected to move along the northern coast of Cuba Thursday night into Friday, moving over the Florida Keys Friday night. Fred is expected to regain tropical storm strength by late Friday into early Saturday.

Fred is expected to move across the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, offshore of Florida’s Gulf Coast this weekend. Right now, Fred is forecasted to make landfall along the Florida panhandle Sunday night into Monday morning.

Fred is expected to move northward along the Alabama and Georgia state line, and toward the Southern Appalachian Mountains by late Tuesday.

At this point, heavy rain from Fred is possible across the Carolinas Monday into Tuesday, and may even linger into Wednesday. Depending on the track that Fred takes, the local WBTV viewing area may see rainfall of 0.50″ to more than 3.00″ for Monday into Tuesday. Strong to severe storms are possible as well.

In addition to Tropical Depression Fred, we are closely monitoring another weather disturbance in the Central Atlantic, that may develop into a tropical system in the coming days.

Right now, Fred is forecasted to make landfall along the Florida panhandle Sunday night into...
Right now, Fred is forecasted to make landfall along the Florida panhandle Sunday night into Monday morning.(WBTV)

» This update is from August 12, 2021, at 8:54 a.m. from WBTV First Alert Meteorologist Al Conklin.

Following a night over the very high mountains of Hispaniola, Fred is a tropical depression this morning with 40 miles per hour (mph) sustained winds, moving northwest at 16mph between Cuba and the southern Bahamas.

The forecast calls for Fred to skirt northern Cuba and the southern Bahamas today as a tropical depression before gaining a little strength and tropical storm status as it approaches South Florida on Friday.

Model guidance and the official forecast suggest Fred will turn up into the eastern Gulf of Mexico over the weekend, perhaps striking the Florida Keys early Saturday morning before moving ashore in the Florida Panhandle area early Monday morning as a strong tropical storm.

Portions of Florida could receive as much as 10 inches of rain from Fred Friday through Monday.

There are still some lingering questions regarding both the track and intensity while Fred is over the open water of the Gulf of Mexico this weekend.

If the track turns out to be farther west – farther away from land interaction with the Florida peninsula – Fred could gain hurricane strength before making a Monday landfall.

Also, for reference, it should be noted the average track errors at days four and five are 175 miles and 200 miles, respectively. That could make a big difference in where the storm eventually winds up after it turns into the Gulf of Mexico, which again, is not even a certainty at this point.

Tracking the tropics
Tracking the tropics(First Alert Weather)

There is also low confidence today regarding just how quickly the storm will move inland, which would make a difference in when we might see some of Fred’s rain – and even the potential for severe weather – early next week, so stay tuned for further updates.

That said, the most reliable model data suggest the period most likely to feature heavy rain in our part of the Carolinas would be from late Monday into Tuesday, so both of those days now have First Alert status.

- Meteorologist Al Conklin

» This update is from August 11, 2021, at 11:49 a.m. from WBTV First Alert Meteorologist Leigh Brock

Tropical Storm Fred is close to the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. Winds are 45mph and it is moving WNW at 16mph.

On this track, Fred should be near Hispaniola this afternoon. It will close in on the Turks and Caicos and SE Bahamas on Thursday.

The current track hasn’t changed much since yesterday. The storm isn’t expected to strengthen a great deal from now through the end of the week. It may only be a minimal tropical storm until it reaches the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Dry air and mountainous terrain over Hispaniola will be working against strengthening. Very warm water would promote strengthening.

After the storm gets back out into the Gulf, it will have a better chance to strengthen. Still, the current NHC projection has the storm not reaching hurricane status before making landfall along the Gulf coast early next week.

There are many factors that will affect the storm, so we continue to watch it closely. If we get any remnant rain in the Carolinas, it would likely be the early to middle part of next week.

Fred continues to head toward the Gulf of Mexico
Fred continues to head toward the Gulf of Mexico(WBTV)

» This update is from August 11, 2021, at 9:43 a.m. from WBTV First Alert Meteorologist Al Conklin

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Dominican Republic, as Tropical Storm Fred continues to push in that direction with top winds of 40 miles per hour.

While over very warm water this morning, the storm is disorganized and may weaken a bit while it traverses the very mountainous terrain of Hispaniola today.

Once it emerges off Hispaniola tonight, the forecast calls for Fred to skirt northern Cuba and the southern Bahamas Thursday, where a tropical storms watch has been posted.

Model guidance and the official forecast still suggest Fred will turn up into the eastern Gulf of Mexico over the weekend, perhaps striking the Florida Keys Saturday and the Florida Panhandle area early Monday morning.

Tropical tracker
Tropical tracker(First Alert Weather)

All of this seems generally certain in the short term, however, doubt on both the track and intensity enters the forecast picture over the weekend. For reference, the average track errors at days four and five are 175 miles and 200 miles, respectively.

That could make a big difference in where the storm eventually goes once it turns into the Gulf of Mexico, which again, is not even a certainty at this point.

There is also low confidence today in just how strong this storm will be while over the Gulf this weekend, as well as large time gaps in the models regarding just how quickly the storm will move inland, so stay tuned for further updates.

If the Carolinas are to get any rain from the storm, it would not likely be until the early part of next week, and because of all the uncertainty outlined above, much-need rain cannot be banked on at this juncture.

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