Fred Weakens to Tropical Storm After Hitting Cape Verde Islands

Weakens Slightly To Tropical Storm After Becoming First Hurricane to Hit Islands Since 1892

After a being tranquil over nearly the first three weeks of August, the Atlantic Basin has heated up with several storms over the last 13 days. The latest, Fred strengthened to become a hurricane early Monday before moving through the Cape Verde Islands.  It marked the first time in recorded history since 1892 that a hurricane moved through the string of islands off the West African coast.  Fred has been a historic storm so far in its short life.

Fred is the easternmost hurricane to form in the tropical waters of the Atlantic according to an article written on Monday morning by the Washington Post.  Vince, one of the last storms in that busy 2005 season, formed not only further east, but also further north of where Fred formed as it briefly reached hurricane intensity as it headed toward Portugal, and thus was outside of the tropical waters.  Hurricane Fred generated the first ever hurricane warnings for the Cape Verde Islands as well as the first satellite view of a hurricane in that part of the world since satellites were introduced in 1960.

Reaching peak intensity during the mid-afternoon on Monday, Fred attained maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour as it spun between Ribeira Brava and Ribiera Grande in the Cape Verde Islands according to the 2:00 PM Advisory from the National Hurricane Center.  Peak wind gusts at that time were in the area of 105 miles per hour.   Minimum central pressure with Fred got as low as 986 millibars, or 29.12 inches of Hg.  The storm was a strong Category One Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale while at peak strength on Monday.

As of the 8:00 AM AST Advisory on Tuesday morning from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, Fred had moved away from the Cape Verde Islands.  The storm, located some 225 miles to the Northwest of the Cape Verde Islands.  Moving to the West-Northwest at a fairly good pace at 12 miles per hour, the storm is projected to be a fish storm as it turns more toward the north by Sunday morning.  Maximum sustained winds with Fred have decreased a bit to 65 miles per hour, but it is still a potent tropical storm with gusts estimated as high as hurricane force.  Minimum central pressure has risen to 997 millibars, or 29.44 inches of Hg.

According to the 5:00 AM AST Advisory on Tuesday morning from the NHC, deep convection, or an area of strong to severe thunderstorms, has re-developed over the center of circulation in Fred.  Low level circulation is still very solid while it’s low level center is a bit more south than earlier in the day after being affected by southwesterly shear.  Intensity forecast calls for Fred to gradually weaken as the storm moves into an environment of more shear, dry and stable air, and cooler sea surface temperatures.  The storm should be post-tropical within 5 days.  The forecast track has the storm moving between the West-Northwest and Northwest around a mid-level ridge to the north that gradually builds westward over the next 72 hours.  After that, the storm is expected to turn north.