Tropical Depression Fred approaching Florida, bringing heavy rains

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Tropical Depression Fred was bringing heavy rain to Cuba and the Florida Keys early Saturday morning.As of 5 a.m., the system was 35 miles west-northwest of Varadero, Cuba, and 90 miles south of Key West, Florida. Fred had maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour and was moving west-nothwest at 13 miles per hour.Forecasters say it continues to be a very disorganized system. Passing over Cuba has significantly disrupted its circulation, according to the National Hurricane Center. There are doubts as to whether it will remain a tropical depression throughout the day. The storm is expected to strengthen some during the next couple of days, but significant intensification seems unlikely, forecasters said.Fred is expected to pass west of the lower Florida Keys later today and make landfall along the western Florida Panhandle or Alabama coast Monday night or early Tuesday. The hurricane center said 3 to 6 inches of rain were expected across the Florida Keys and southern peninsula by Monday, with isolated maximums of 8 inches.Tropical Storm Warnings:The Florida Keys west of Seven Mile Bridge to the Dry Tortugas Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Grace has formedRelated: How to choose your storm prep supplies, develop a planForecasters said last week that conditions for an above-average season are even more favorable than what had been previously predicted.National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters monitoring oceanic and atmospheric patterns say conditions are now more favorable for above-normal hurricane activity because El Niño has ended.NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center previously put the chances for an above-normal season at 30%. That is now up to 45% in the latest outlook.The likelihood of near-normal activity is now at 35%, and the chance of below-normal activity has dropped to 20%, forecasters said.The number of predicted storms is also greater with NOAA now expecting 10-17 named storms. Five to nine of those are forecast to become hurricanes.The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tropical Depression Fred was bringing heavy rain to Cuba and the Florida Keys early Saturday morning.

As of 5 a.m., the system was 35 miles west-northwest of Varadero, Cuba, and 90 miles south of Key West, Florida.

Fred had maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour and was moving west-nothwest at 13 miles per hour.

Forecasters say it continues to be a very disorganized system. Passing over Cuba has significantly disrupted its circulation, according to the National Hurricane Center. There are doubts as to whether it will remain a tropical depression throughout the day.

The storm is expected to strengthen some during the next couple of days, but significant intensification seems unlikely, forecasters said.

Fred is expected to pass west of the lower Florida Keys later today and make landfall along the western Florida Panhandle or Alabama coast Monday night or early Tuesday. The hurricane center said 3 to 6 inches of rain were expected across the Florida Keys and southern peninsula by Monday, with isolated maximums of 8 inches.

Tropical Storm Warnings:

  • The Florida Keys west of Seven Mile Bridge to the Dry Tortugas

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Grace has formed

Related: How to choose your storm prep supplies, develop a plan

Forecasters said last week that conditions for an above-average season are even more favorable than what had been previously predicted.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters monitoring oceanic and atmospheric patterns say conditions are now more favorable for above-normal hurricane activity because El Niño has ended.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center previously put the chances for an above-normal season at 30%. That is now up to 45% in the latest outlook.

The likelihood of near-normal activity is now at 35%, and the chance of below-normal activity has dropped to 20%, forecasters said.

The number of predicted storms is also greater with NOAA now expecting 10-17 named storms. Five to nine of those are forecast to become hurricanes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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