What can South Florida and the Keys expect from Fred? Details on rain, wind, flooding

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This story was updated Friday morning.

Freddie’s not dead and South Florida and the Keys can expect a wet and windy weekend.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for far South Miami-Dade, mainland Monroe and coastal Collier, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.

Tropical Depression Fred was about 340 miles southeast of Miami and about 430 miles southeast of Naples in the National Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. Friday advisory. Winds were at 35 mph and Fred was moving west-northwest at 10 mph.

The National Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. advisory found the “poorly disorganized” Tropical Depression Fred flooding parts of Cuba and the southeastern Bahamas. Fred, over nourishing waters, could regain its tropical storm strength soon.

Fred was battered and bruised from its fight through Hispaniola’s jagged mountainous terrain. But, like a shark’s resolve for survival, we can’t count the tropical depression down and out.

South Florida and the Keys can expect a dousing from tropical moisture wrung from Caribbean waters. Flood watches for South Florida and the Keys were in effect Friday from the National Weather Service.

“The biggest question is if the system will recover as it took a big toll in the mountains of the Dominican Republic,” said Anthony Reynes, senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Miami, on Thursday. “For now, we are seeing it as a rather weak, disorganized system.”

That much held true, Friday.

“There’s a field of clouds associated with [Fred] even if it doesn’t recover. Its remnants will still bring some cloudiness and showers to the area,” Reynes said as he eyed Saturday as the worst of the potential weather.

“Prepare for a tornado event having possible limited impacts across all of South Florida,” the service warned Friday.

By Thursday morning, Miami Beach had already begun preparations for whatever Fred happens to be, said spokeswoman Melissa Berthier.

“We are deploying an additional 11 temporary pumps throughout the city that will assist the existing pump stations in alleviating potential flooding,” she said. “In addition, we have staff assigned to work around the clock starting Friday through Monday with additional crews on standby.”

Miami Beach will continue monitoring the forecasts closely and take necessary precautions, Berthier added.

Similarly, Monroe County Emergency Management has begun to alert residents in the Florida Keys to start preparing their properties now should conditions deteriorate by later Friday.

How much rain?

The National Weather Service in Miami thinks rainfall totals of three to seven inches are possible over Southwest Florida and even more, Reynes said.

Some areas could see 10 inches of rain and the warning includes South Florida into the central part of the state and onward toward the Big Bend.

Expect rough marine conditions and high rip currents across all Atlantic beaches — you really don’t want to be out there swimming this weekend.

The flood warning is because the grounds are still saturated from recent heavy cloudbursts that preceded Fred’s growth and approach this week.

Some of the coming storms could become strong and produce wind gusts topping 45 mph, according to the service.

Florida Keys

Florida Keys put under a tropical storm warning ahead of Fred’s expected heavy rainfall

Since Fred’s forecast movement still flirts with the Florida Keys, meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Key West want people to be ready.

A flood watch is in effect for all of the Keys until late Saturday night. Wind gusts could hit the 45 mph to 55 mph range and the possibility of tornadoes exists, especially Friday night, the National Weather Service in Key West said Friday.

Expect possible tropical storm force winds, especially in frequent squalls, lightning strikes, as well as hazardous marine conditions, according to the weather service.

“Conditions are not likely to improve until Saturday evening,” meteorologists in Key West say.

The big rains could still last through Sunday and bring three to six inches of rain each day — with isolated areas hitting up to eight inches, according to the Keys weather service. This means significant flooding is possible.

Monroe County Emergency Management officials’ preparation includes warning Keys residents along the island chain to begin storm preps, no matter Fred’s strength, Thursday.

This means, considering your sheltering options and securing homes, yards and boats before the weather deteriorates after mid-afternoon Friday.

Quick tips

Get your yard and property ready, emergency management suggests. Trim trees and hedges and cut shrubbery to reduce the risk of flying branches during high winds. But clean up that debris; don’t leave it lying around to fly about in high winds.

Bring outdoor furniture inside, if possible, in case of high winds. Secure what you don’t bring inside. This includes trash cans.

Shutters. At the moment, no one is saying board up or draw the shutters. But monitor the forecasts and be ready just in case. And remember, tape across the windows leaves a sticky mess and offers no protection. So don’t do that.

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Secure your boats.

Have a hurricane kit. It’s already August so you really should already have this in hand, but in case you don’t, try to have nonperishable food, water, batteries, candles, flashlight, battery-powered radio and lights and your medications to last a couple of days or so. And for your pets, too. This doesn’t mean you need to panic buy a pallet’s worth of water, mind you.

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