GAINING POWER: Tropical Storm Fred strengthens; southeast Bahamas in cone

GAINING POWER: Tropical Storm Fred strengthens; southeast Bahamas in cone
A projected storm path of Tropical Storm Fred as seen in early August 2021.

Storm set to bring rainfall and moderate winds to southeast Bahamas this week

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Tropical Storm Fred strengthened in the Atlantic yesterday afternoon, becoming the sixth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for the southeast Bahamas, including Inagua, Mayaguana, Acklins and Crooked Island, Samana Cay, Long Island and Ragged Island.

A tropical storm alert means that tropical storm conditions could be experienced within 60 hours.

A projected storm path of Tropical Storm Fred as seen in early August 2021. (NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER)

According to meteorologists and the National Hurricane Center, the storm was expected to hit portions of the US Virgin Island and Puerto Rico last night and the Dominican Republic today.

Tropical storm conditions are possible in northern Haiti and the southeastern Bahamas by late Wednesday, the center said in its 5pm advisory on Tuesday.

“There is a risk of wind and rainfall impacts elsewhere in portions of Hispaniola, The Bahamas and Cuba during the next several days, although the forecast is more uncertain than usual since the system is still in its formative stage,” read the advisory.

As of 5pm, the system was located around 105 miles southeast of Puerto Rico.

It was moving west-northwest at around 17 miles per hour (mph).

The disturbance, known as Six, had maximum sustained winds of 35mph.

Gradual strengthening is forecasted over the next days, though some weakening is likely while the system interacts with Hispaniola.

When contacted yesterday, Long Island Administrator Desiree Ferguson told Eyewitness News all shelters on the island were inspected and “ready to go”, though generators needed to be placed in one or two of them.

“Everything else is up and ready to go,” she said.

“We will just open one for now. That will most likely be the community center in Clarence Town.

“We will activate that one. Everything is also ready for that.

“As the time nears and we see which area is coming in first, we will have one in the north and then one in the south. By this evening (last night), we should know how it’s coming down.”

Administrators on Acklins and Crooked Island, as well as Inagua, confirmed on Monday that shelters were in a state of readiness as the islands prepared for the potential storm.

This time last year, Tropical Storm Josephine, which had maximum sustained winds of 45mph, produced gusty winds and downpours in parts of the Leeward Islands, though The Bahamas was not in the system’s path.

It was the 10th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus said with the peak of the season over the next couple of months, there will be “a nearly constant barrage of storms affecting people and places who have done very little [to] cause climate change”.

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.