In a tweet, the Florida Division of Emergency Management shared a photo of one of its “daily calls with county EM offices” in preparation for the storm.
“The Division is hosting daily calls with county EM offices in preparation for TS #Fred,” the division wrote on Wednesday. “The state hosts these calls to ensure we can respond quickly & efficiently. TS #Fred could impact FL this weekend. Residents should turn on weather alerts & monitor local news outlets.”
“PTC #6 developed into Tropical Storm #Fred overnight. This is the sixth named storm of the season & could potentially impact Florida this weekend,” Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted earlier in the day. “While it’s too soon to determine exact impacts, Floridians should review their disaster plans & follow @FLSERT for updates.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also urged Floridians to follow instructions from local officials, monitor the Florida Division of Emergency Management and National Hurricane Center Atlantic Twitter accounts, and “have multiple ways to get weather alerts.”
“We are monitoring the development of Tropical Storm #Fred. If you’re in its path, now is the time to #BeReady,” the agency said.
Fred, which weakened from a tropical storm to depression force overnight on Wednesday, swept over Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Thursday.
The storm knocked out power for approximately 300,000 customers in the Dominican Republic and brought flooding that forced government officials to shut down part of the country’s aqueduct system.
Heavy rainfall pounded Hispaniola on Thursday and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that additional rainfall could lead to mudslides, rapid river rises as well as flash, urban and small stream flooding.
Around 13,000 residents in Puerto Rico were also left without power after Fred pelted the islands with rain, and tropical storm warnings were discontinued there and in the U.S. Virgin Islands as the storm moved on.
The Hurricane Center said that at 11 a.m. ET Tropical Depression Fred was centered around 105 miles west of Great Inagua Island and about 180 miles east of Camaguey, Cuba.
The storm was moving west-northwest near 14 mph with a decrease in forward speed expected for the next day or two, and maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph with higher gusts.
Rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches were expected across the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the western Bahamas, as well as 1 to 3 inches over the Turks and Caicos, the eastern Bahamas and Cuba.
While “little change in strength was expected through Thursday night,” slow strengthening is anticipated on Friday and into Saturday.
During that time, Fred is expected to regain tropical-storm strength.
The storm is on a forecast track that would carry it northwest toward South Florida, with the main threat to the U.S. appearing to be heavy rains in the Sunshine State and parts of the Southeast from Friday into early next week.
Three to 5 inches of rain are expected across the Keys and southern Florida Peninsula through Monday, with isolated maximum totals of 8 inches.
Heavy rainfall in Florida, the Hurricane Center noted, could lead to potential rapid river rises and area, urban and small stream flooding.
The NHC said a tropical storm watch would likely be issued for portions of the Florida Keys and the southern Florida Peninsula on Thursday afternoon, with the risk of tropical storm conditions beginning early Saturday.
Fred is the sixth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.