TROPICAL depression Fred is strengthening and could regain tropical storm status on Friday before smashing Florida on Saturday, forecasters said.
The system was dropping heavy rain over parts of Cuba, where it was expected to keep moving along the island’s northern coast through Friday night.
The main threats were rain and flooding. A tropical storm warning was issued Friday morning for the Florida Keys and Florida Bay. A tropical storm watch was in place for southwest Florida and parts of Cuba.
The hurricane center said 3 to 7 inches of rain were expected across the Florida Keys and southern peninsula by Monday, with isolated maximums of 10 inches.
Once a tropical storm, Fred weakened back to a depression by its spin over Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where it knocked out power to some 400,000 customers and caused flooding that forced officials to shut down part of the country’s aqueduct system, interrupting water service for hundreds of thousands of people.
Local officials reported hundreds of people were evacuated and some buildings were damaged. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Read our Tropical Storm Fred live blog for the latest news and updates…