Tampa Bay Times: FLORIDA, By Josh Fiallo – The system formerly known as Potential Cyclone Six became Tropical Storm Fred late Tuesday night.

While the storm has changed in classification, its forecast remains the same: A path over Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba before approaching Florida. Extended forecasts from the National Hurricane Center project Fred could make landfall — or pass by — Tampa Bay on Sunday morning as a tropical storm.

Despite our region being firmly in Fred’s projected path, local meteorologists advise that Fred’s future strength is uncertain because it is expected to interact with mountainous Caribbean islands.

Meteorologist Brian McClure of Spectrum Bay News 9 says he expects Fred to make landfall with Florida over the weekend. What he’s unsure of, however, is how strong the storm will be by then after it battles both the mountains of Hispaniola and dry air.

“It does look like it’s headed right for Florida, and I do think it will head to Florida, but the intensity does not look that impressive as it comes here,” McClure said.

McClure noted both Floridians and those in the Caribbean have been a bit lucky with Fred, at least so far.

Storms on a similar path in years past — such as hurricanes Irma, Maria and Dorian — were already major storms by the time they reached Puerto Rico, McClure said. Fred, by comparison, is barely a tropical storm as it nears Puerto Rico’s southeastern coast.

Regardless of Fred’s strength when it reaches the Florida Keys on Saturday morning, McClure says Floridians can expect heavy rain totals and rain chances for most of the weekend.

“Even if it doesn’t hold together, the moisture from Fred will likely increase our rain chances this weekend into next week,” he said.

For now, Fred was still 215 miles southeast of the Dominican Republic with sustained winds of 40 mph late Tuesday. It’s expected to reach or be over Hispaniola by Wednesday night, then be near the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday.

Governmental meteorologists wrote in an 11pm advisory that they expect Fred to strengthen throughout Wednesday before reaching Hispaniola and its mountains. McClure said he expects the storm will fluctuate in strength as it goes between the islands and open water.

Fred brought impacts to Puerto Rico as early as Tuesday night, where the company in charge of the island’s transmission and distribution system, Luma, warned those who depend on electricity for life-saving medical devices to activate emergency plans.

The storm was expected to produce rainfall of 2 to 4 inches over the Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, with up to 6 inches in some areas, according to the hurricane center.