TRACK, MODELS, SATELLITE: Fred’s projected path shifts west on way toward Florida

Fred expected to strengthen back into tropical storm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Tropical Depression Fred is on a forecast track that would carry it toward Florida by the weekend.

[VIDEO ABOVE: Projected path, cone, computer models, satellite, more]

The National Hurricane Center on Thursday night said the storm had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, while centered about 450 miles east-southeast of Key West. It was heading west-northwest at 9 mph.

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The main threat to the U.S. appeared to be heavy rains affecting Florida and parts of the Southeast, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

The NHC said 3 to 5 inches of rain were expected across the Florida Keys and southern peninsula by Monday, with isolated maximums of 8 inches.

Already a tropical storm, Fred was weakened back to depression force by its spin over Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where it knocked out power to some 300,000 customers and caused flooding that forced officials to shut down part of the country’s aqueduct system.

Heavy rains continued to pound Hispaniola, which the two nations share, on Thursday.

[VIDEO BELOW: Live loop of Central Florida radar]

Fred was expected to produce 3 to 5 inches of rain across the Dominican Republic and the western Bahamas, as well as 1 to 3 inches over Haiti, the Turks and Caicos, the eastern Bahamas, and Cuba.

Fred became the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season late Tuesday as it moved past the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

[RELATED: List of storm names for 2021 hurricane season]

The next named storms will be called Grace and Henri.

Hurricane season runs through November.

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