VENICE — Tropical Depression Fred had not returned to tropical storm status as it moved north Friday, but there was still a possibility it would strengthen Friday night or today.
“Overall, there hasn’t been a whole lot of change,” said Eric Oglesby, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Tampa based in Ruskin.
The National Weather Service Tampa expects 3-6 inches of rain around Sarasota County with higher isolated totals in some locations.
This rain on top of the recent rain storms in the area has the potential to cause flooding.
“That is going to be the major impact,” Oglesby said.
The Daily Sun and Venice Gondolier will be updating tropical storm stories online for free throughout the weekend at www.yoursun.com.
The track has shifted a bit toward the west, according to Oglesby. If it tracked further west and offshore, it will just brush the coast, he said.
He said that regardless of where the storm goes, the area should expect heavy rain.
“Still expecting conditions to start to deteriorate as you get into Saturday afternoon and into the evening and overnight hours,” Oglesby said.
Coastal Charlotte and Lee counties were put under a tropical storm watch Friday and the NWS was looking at expanding it north toward Tampa, but there was still some uncertainty.
There was the possibility of tornadoes for the area starting today and going into Sunday as well.
Oglesby said the other significant impact for the area would be tides of 1-3 feet above normal.
The Daily Sun expects its print edition to be late to customers on Sunday due to weather conditions of the storm.
If strong winds occur with this or any other storm, the bridges going onto Venice island would be locked in the down position with cars being able to cross.
As of Friday afternoon, the South Jetty was still open but Venice Public Works moved all benches and tables to a more secure location.
Several sandbag operations across the county on Friday allowed residents to prepare for any flooding caused by Tropical Depression Fred.
The Sarasota County sandbag station in Wellfield Park in Venice gave out 310 bags of sand as of early Friday afternoon.
“We need to be prepared for anything this time of year,” Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane said in a video. “We at the EOC are going to be monitoring those storms and the public needs to do the same thing.”