Florida braces for TWO huge storms as Tropical Depression Fred races towards the Keys & Seven gathers pace in Atlantic

Florida braces for TWO huge storms as Tropical Depression Fred races towards the Keys & Seven gathers pace in Atlantic

A STATE of emergency was declared for a third of Florida on Friday evening, as Tropical Depression Fred loomed closer and a second storm was forecast to follow.

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order with Fred expected become a tropical storm once more, making landfall in the coming days.

Tropical Depression Seven, another system in the Atlantic, has been forecast to become Tropical Storm Grace on Saturday as it nears the Caribbean.

The National Hurricane Center predicts that Fred may strengthen back into a tropical storm before impacting Florida as early as Saturday.

Fred moved along Cuba's northern coast on Friday and is on track to reach the Florida Keys on Saturday and southwest Florida on Sunday, forecasters predict.

Florida's state of emergency applies to 23 counties: Bay, Calhoun, Citrus, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Manatee, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton and Washington.

A press release said: "By declaring a state of emergency, Governor DeSantis is ensuring that state and local governments have ample time, resources and flexibility to prepare."

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said Fred had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and was dropping heavy rain over parts of Cuba, where the main threats were rain and flooding.

The hurricane center said three to seven inches of rain were expected across the Florida Keys and Southern Peninsula by Monday, with isolated maximums of 10 inches (25 centimeters).

Once a tropical storm, Fred weakened back to a depression by its spin over Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where it knocked out power to some 400,000 customers.

Fred also caused flooding that forced officials to shut down 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.

Fred became the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season late Tuesday as it moved past the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

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