Tropical Storm Fred strengthens over eastern Atlantic

By David Adams MIAMI (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Fred strengthened in the eastern Atlantic off the coast of Africa on Sunday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Fred is forecast to reach hurricane status with winds of 75 miles per hour (120 km per hour) before moving through the Cape Verde islands on Monday, the Miami-based forecaster said. "Storm surge is expected to produce coastal flooding in areas of onshore winds in the Cape Verde Islands, the NHC said. Fred, the sixth named storm of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, is expected to lose hurricane strength by Wednesday as it moves west before likely dissipating. Fred was only the fourth Atlantic tropical storm to form east of the Cape Verde Island, the NHC said. "It's very rare for those islands to see a hurricane," said John Cangialosi, a specialist with the NHC. "We are checking our records and the last hurricane event we can see was in the 1960s." Meanwhile, the remnants of Tropical Storm Erika, which dissipated over Cuba on Saturday, were producing gusty conditions and heavy rain over parts of south Florida, the NHC said. It could regain tropical storm force over the next day or so, the forecasters said, as it heads for the northwest Florida Panhandle. (Reporting by David Adams; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Lisa Shumaker)

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