Grace is back to tropical storm strength as it tracks over the warm Caribbean waters south of Cuba. Part of the circulation is still over the islands, so it’s still disorganized, but with water temperatures in the mid to upper 80s, there is lots of energy available for Grace to strengthen.
Grace’s moisture will finally leave Haiti later today. Unfortunately, the area hit by the devastating earthquake last Saturday appears to have been hit hard by rainfall from Grace, which tracked very near that part of the country. Finally later today, things there will let up so recovery from the quake can continue. Jamaica will be impacted today, and significant flooding is likely in some areas.
Heavy rain over all these mountainous islands is a deadly problem because the rivers and valleys channel the water, which can cause deadly flash floods and mudslides.
Grace is forecast to slowly intensify as it heads west reaching hurricane strength in the Gulf. The resort areas around Cancún will have to prepare since intensity forecasts, especially when the storm is just developing and is near land, can have significant errors.
What’s left of Fred is well inland over the Southeast. It is forecast to spread flooding rain up the Appalachian chain. Again, tropical moisture and mountains are a bad combination. In this case, a cold front will add to the rainfall potential as Fred gets farther north.
Current forecasts call for maximum amounts of 6 to 10 inches of rain from the South up the Appalachian Mountains. Flooding and landslides are a real threat.
The remnants of Fred and its associated moisture are forecast to bring significant rain to the Northeast and New England Thursday and Friday. The tropical air will hang around for a few days.
Out in the Atlantic, the eighth tropical storm of the year, Henri, has formed. Only twice before, since satellites gave us a full view of the Atlantic, has the eighth storm come along so early in the year. Not surprisingly, those were the mega years of 2005 and just last year, 2020.
Henri is forecast to loop around Bermuda then eventually die out as it heads out to sea. Bermuda is the only land mass that will be affected, and it looks like the strongest winds with Henri will avoid that island.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, there is a large tropical disturbance moving off Africa, but because of dry air in the vicinity and hostile upper winds, no long-term development is currently expected.