With the Atlantic hurricane season approaching its annual peak period, Tropical Storm Fred late Tuesday night became the sixth named storm of the season.
The National Hurricane Center said in its 11 p.m. advisory that Fred’s peak sustained winds were 40 mph, barely making the grade for earning a name — that is, top winds of at least 39 mph. However, it does represent a heavy rain threat to parts of the Caribbean islands and, later in the weekend, to Florida.
The hurricane center said Fred has a chance to approach hurricane strength sometime late Sunday, when the forecast path would have it near the Florida Gulf coast.
Tropical-storm warnings were in effect for Cuba, Puerto Rico, and portions of the Dominican Republic.
Fred is forecast to move west-northwest, parallel the northern Cuba coast, enter the Gulf of Mexico, and then make a right turn along the Florida west coast, quite similar to the track taken by Elsa in July.
While it is way early to speculate, it’s at least possible that Fred’s remnants would affect the Philadelphia region sometime next week, said Tom Kines, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc.
But even it doesn’t come close to the region, Fred could become a fresh source of atmospheric moisture, and after a respite this weekend, heat and humidity could return next week.