Tropical Storm Fred weakened to a tropical depression late Wednesday as heavy rain continued to pound Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The storm was over Hispaniola as of 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, about 85 miles southeast of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, with sustained winds of 35 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Fred had sustained winds of 45 mph earlier in the day.
Fred is expected to continue to track west, nearing the southeastern Bahamas and parts of Cuba on Thursday.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for portions of the Dominican Republic. Tropical storm watches include the southeastern Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, parts of Haiti and portions of Cuba, according to the NHC.
A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are possible in the warning area within 36 hours.
Fred is not currently expected to strengthen into a hurricane, but the forecast is likely to shift as the storm progresses, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.
By Friday, the storm is predicted to reach South Florida, potentially making landfall over the Florida Keys, Guy said.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Puerto Rico, including Culebra and Vieques, the US Virgin Islands, and parts of the Dominican Republic on Tuesday. Tropical storm watches include Martinique and Guadeloupe, Saba and St. Eustatius, the Dominican Republic on the north coast from Cabo Frances Viejo to the border of Haiti, parts of Haiti, Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas, according to the NHC.
Dangerous surf and rip currents headed toward the Caribbean
Fred formed Tuesday night off the coast of Puerto Rico, becoming the sixth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
The disturbance will bring flooding rainfall to parts of the Caribbean throughout the middle of the week, causing concerns for flash flooding and mudslides in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Dangerous surf and rip currents are also impacting the Caribbean and will continue within the warning and watch areas.
Tropical-storm-force winds and heavy rainfall threaten a wider region across Hispaniola, the Bahamas and Cuba in the latter portion of the week as the storm travels across the northern Caribbean.
As the system approaches and potentially moves over Cuba, the land interaction could potentially weaken the storm significantly. There is still uncertainty in the track of the disturbance, but some models show the storm tracking over the island, which would inhibit strengthening.
If the potential cyclone follows a more northerly path in open waters, there is still a possibility for further strengthening but the forecast is still uncertain in the formative stages of the storm.
“For the next few days the storm will be affected by Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and likely not strengthen much, but after that there is plenty of warm water for it to get stronger,” said CNN meteorologist Chad Meyers.