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Fred weakens to tropical depression, but is likely to drench Florida as tropical storm

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Posted at 8:17 AM, Aug 12, 2021

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Tropical Depression Fred is heading for a drenching of Cuba and the Bahamas on a forecast track that would carry it toward South Florida as a tropical storm by Saturday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the main threat to the U.S. appears to be heavy rains affecting Florida and parts of the Southeast starting on Friday.

“Beginning Friday, heavy rainfall could lead to areal, urban, and small stream flooding, and possible rapid river rises around southern Florida,” wrote the NHC in a Thursday advisory. “Heavy rainfall associated with Fred will impact the remainder of Florida and parts of the Southeast this weekend and into next week."

Fred became a named tropical storm on Tuesday but weakened back to depression force by its spin over Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where it knocked out power to some 300,000 customers and caused flooding.

Government officials in the Dominican Republic say more than a half-million have been affected by swollen rivers that forced part of the aqueduct system to shut down.

Forecasters say a slow strengthening of the storm is expected on Friday and into the weekend.

“There is a risk of tropical storm conditions beginning early Saturday in the Florida Keys and South Florida. These conditions are expected to spread northward along portions of the Florida west coast and Florida panhandle through Monday,” wrote the NHC.