Tropical Storm Fred has strengthened a bit, but now land will be its enemy. The terrain over the island of Hispanola, which includes the Dominican Republic and Haiti has average elevations over one thousand feet. Some peaks over the western part of the Dominican are over ten thousand feet including Pico Duarte. Developing tropical systems need to be over water, or at the very least, flat land for only brief periods. Any land or rugged terrain is bad news for a weak system like Fred.
If Fred manages to hold itself together and make it back into the waters near the southern Bahamas and Cuba, it could strengthen back into a tropical storm. That's the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center as of this morning. Warm waters and fairly low wind shear is forecast for this area. Even more favorable conditions are likely over the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The track forecast rounds a big dome of high pressure over Bermuda, so a west-northwest movement today, with a gradual turn toward the northwest is expected over the weekend.
On this track, Fred could strengthen into a modest tropical storm and could bring heavy rains and gusty winds to much of Florida. A landfall with winds of 65mph is forecast for the central Florida Panhandle near Apalachicola. This scenario would bring minimal impacts to Acadiana. Computer models are pretty solid on the forecast track for the first three days, then some wiggles for day four and five. The intensity forecast models are still running with a mid range tropical storm, a couple of models are hinting hurricane, and several keep it as a tropical depression.
The next position update is at 1pm, and the next full advisory, including a new track will be released at 4pm.