The National Hurricane Center said Fred regained its tropical storm status in the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday.
A Tropical Storm Warning was issued for the coast of the Florida Panhandle from Navarre to the Wakulla/Jefferson County line, according to the NHC. Fred's maximum sustained winds stood at 40 mph (65 kph) Sunday morning.
Fred was forecast to move across the Gulf before reaching the coast Monday night or Tuesday morning, forecasters said. They said people from Alabama to the central Florida Panhandle should monitor the system's progress.
As of 2 p.m. EDT, Fred was about 205 miles southwest of Tampa, Florida and 320 miles south-southeast of Pensacola, Florida. It had top sustained winds of 40 mph and was moving north-northwest at 12 mph.
A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the coast of the Florida Panhandle from the Alabama/Florida border to Navarre.
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Fred is expected to bring heavy rain to the Southeastern U.S. by Monday but is not projected to reach hurricane strength.
Already anticipating Fred, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had already declared a state of emergency for the state’s Panhandle region. In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement Saturday that her administration is monitoring the storm and “will be ready to act from the state level if needed.”
Meanwhile, a tropical storm warning in effect earlier for the Florida Keys was canceled Saturday as the storm began moving into the Gulf. All told, Fred was expected to bring 3 to 5 inches (7.5 to 12.5 centimeters) of rain to the Keys and southern Florida through Monday.
A tropical storm earlier in the week, Fred weakened 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 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.