A new tropical cyclone appears to be taking shape northeast of Barbados, and some may begin having some dread for the next storm to be named: Fred. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida has been tracking the disturbance for the last few days; they now say there is an 80% chance that it will become a tropical cyclone, perhaps impacting U.S. interests over time as a named storm.
According to the NHC, showers and thunderstorms associated with the area of low pressure located about 100 miles east-northeast of Barbados continue to show signs of organization. However, recent satellite wind data indicates that the system currently lacks a well-defined center. The NHC says environmental conditions are expected to remain conducive for additional development, and a tropical depression is likely to form later today or tonight while the low moves west-northwestward at 10 to 15 mph. The disturbance is forecast to move through portions of the Lesser Antilles tonight, then move near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Tuesday, and Hispaniola on Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center believes the system will become a tropical storm with time. When it becomes a named storm, it will be called Fred. The 1991-2020 average date for 6th Atlantic named storm formation is August 28 and with this storm likely to form soon, it will be more than 2 weeks ahead of normal, illustrating that the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season is indeed a busy one.
Because the system is expected to become a tropical storm, the NHC says that Tropical Storm Watches or warnings could be required this afternoon with shorter-than-normal lead times for portions of the Lesser Antilles, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
Beyond tropical storm conditions, heavy rains and flooding are likely for the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Heavy rain could create floods, rock slides, and mud slides.