National Weather Service Issues Warning for Florida Panhandle as Tropical Storm Fred Could Bring Flooding, Possible Tornadoes

by Courtney Blackann

It’s that time of year again and Floridians know the drill. The latest tropical storm to threaten the Sunshine State’s panhandle could hit later today. Tropical Storm Fred is racing toward the stretch of land and the National Weather Service is warning it could produce heavy rain.

Additionally, the storm is traveling towards the coast at about 12 mph with 40 mph winds. Citizens were warned that rainfall could produce about a foot of rain if it stays on track.

Following right behind Fred is Tropical Storm Grace. This storm could hit land later in the week and its effects are still being studied.

“Indications point towards Grace tracking slightly farther to the north compared to Fred, so places like the U.S. … could endure greater impacts compared to Fred,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said.

Fred is currently more than 100 miles wide and is sitting about 335 south of Pensacola, weather officials said Sunday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued a state of emergency for 23 counties in the state. That’s just about a third of all counties within the state.

Officials in Alabama are also keeping an eye on the two storms as they could be affected by their path as well.

Earlier this week, Haiti – a nation that seems to take hit after hit with hurricanes – saw the effects of Tropical Storm Fred as it raged through the Caribbean. Some 400,000 homes were hit with damage, with Tropical Storm Grace expected to rip through the region within days.

Authorities also warned that the weather conditions could produce tornadoes due to the high winds. As of now, only a tropical storm warning remains in effect in Florida through Sunday.

Fred Not the Only Storm to Hit Gulf Coast

While the typical hurricane season runs from June until September each year around the Gulf of Mexico, last October Hurricane Delta raged into parts of Texas and Louisiana.

Along the Texas, Louisiana and Alabama borders, citizens were warned about a storm surge along the coast. At their peak, winds from the category 2 hurricane reached 145 mph.

The storm also hit parts of Mexico, taking with it power lines and trees. Delta knocked out power to some 266,000 people as it headed further north to the states’ coastline.

Officials in the southern states that would be affected, warned residents about making an evacuation plan in case the time came.

Several major hurricanes have ripped through the south in recent years, including Hurricane Harvey. This storm notoriously damaged much of Houston and surrounding areas. Hurricane Elsa also destroyed property in Florida, causing significant loss.