Fred drenches US Southeast; Grace again a tropical storm

International Headlines

In a downpour, an SUV driver makes their way down Alligator Drive in Alligator Point, Fla., as waves crash onto the road during Tropical Storm Fred, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. (Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat via AP)

Tropical Storm Fred trekked inland spreading heavy rains over the U.S. Southeast early Tuesday while earthquake-damaged Haiti reeled under a drenching from Grace, a depression that regained tropical storm status overnight.

No deaths have been reported from Fred, though thousands of Florida Panhandle residents were reported without power in the hours after its late Monday landfall. Emergency crews in the Panhandle were repairing downed power lines and clearing toppled trees in Fred’s aftermath.

Elsewhere, reconnaissance aircraft found Grace had regained tropical cyclone strength early Tuesday and was dumping extremely heavy rains and causing flooding across parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

In the U.S., Fred crashed ashore Monday afternoon near Cape San Blas in the Florida Panhandle and by Tuesday morning it was crossing southeast Alabama into Georgia. Forecasters said the storm would spend several hours Tuesday over western and north Georgia and then enter the southern Appalachians by Tuesday evening before moving into the mid-Atlantic region.

Top sustained winds dropped to 40 mph (65 kph) overnight and Fred was moving north-northeast at 13 mph (20 kph).

Forecasters expected Fred would drop 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) from Florida’s Panhandle into parts of Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas — and possibly up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain in isolated spots. They also warned Fred could eventually dump heavy rain into the mid-Atlantic states, raising the threat of flash floods from overflowing rivers or even landslides in the Blue Ridge mountains.

Meanwhile, Grace lashed earthquake-damaged Haiti as a tropical depression on Monday, dumping up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain before regaining tropical storm status early Tuesday. The heavy rains pelted people huddling in fields and searching for survivors.

The storm couldn’t have come at a worse time for Haitians struggling to deal with the effects of Saturday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake, blamed for more than an estimated 1,300 deaths.

Forecasters said Grace was moving early Tuesday near or over the Tiburon Peninsula of Haiti on a forecast track expected to take it between southeastern Cuba and Jamaica by Tuesday afternoon. It had top sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph) and was headed to the west near 14 mph (22 kph).

The Miami-based hurricane center said Grace could be near hurricane strength when it approaches Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Tropical Storm Henri, meanwhile, formed Monday southeast of Bermuda and by early Tuesday was about 140 miles (230 kilometers) south-southeast of that island, where a tropical storm watch was in effect. The small tropical cyclone had 45 mph (75 kph) winds and was moving south-southwest at 5 mph (7kph).

Henri was expected to pass well south of Bermuda later Tuesday or Tuesday night, the hurricane center said.

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