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Fred To Strengthen As A Tropical Storm Watch Is Issued for Gulf Coast and Keys

A tropical storm watch is now in effect along the Gulf coast from Bonita Beach south and eastward to Ocean Reef, and for the entire Florida Keys, from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas.  A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.

While Fred was still a tropical depression late Thursday afternoon, it is expected to regain tropical storm strength.

At 5 pm Thursday, TD Fred was located near 21.3 North, 75.3 West, about 470 miles east-southeast of Key West.  Maximum sustained winds were 35 miles per hour, and Fred was moving west-northwest at 12 miles per hour.

Donna Thomas has studied hurricanes for two decades. She holds a PhD in history when her experience with Hurricane Andrew ultimately led her to earn a degree in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University. Donna spent 15 years at WFOR-TV (CBS4 in Miami-Fort Lauderdale), where she worked as a weather producer with hurricane experts Bryan Norcross and David Bernard. She also produced hurricane specials and weather-related features and news coverage, as well as serving as pool TV producer at the National Hurricane Center during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Donna also served as a researcher on NOAA's Atlantic Hurricane Database Reanalysis Project. Donna specializes in Florida's hurricane history.