It is rare for a hurricane to form so near the African coast, and though a handful of tropical storms have formed this far east in the tropical Atlantic, Fred marks the easternmost formation of a hurricane, according to hurricane records in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration database. (Hurricane Vince in 2005 formed at the easternmost point in the entire Atlantic.)
Fred is the first hurricane to pass through the Cape Verde Islands since 1892. Forecasters began collecting tropical cyclone data in the Atlantic in 1851, though they warn the data that preceded the advent of satellite technology in the 1960s is less reliable than the data collected since.
As of 8 p.m. ET, Fred was about 25 miles north-northeast of Santo Antao in the Cape Verde Islands, which are situated roughly 400 miles west of Dakar, Senegal. It was moving northwest at 12 mph, and hurricane-force winds extended 15 miles from the center of the storm.
Forecasters reminded islanders that wind speeds can increase 30% on the peaks and windward sides of hills and mountains.
It's unclear if the hurricane will make it to the Caribbean or United States, as Fred is forecast to experience gradual weakening beginning Tuesday.
Fred is expected to bring 4 to 6 inches of rain to the Cape Verde Islands with the possibility of up to 10 inches in isolated areas. Whatever damage the winds produce, the rainfall alone could result in life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides, the National Weather Service warns.
Fred is the latest storm to cause concern in recent days. Erika was downgraded from a tropical storm on Saturday, but not before killing at least 20 people on the Caribbean island of Dominica, which saw a foot of rain in 10 hours, according to CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.
Torrential rains sent floodwater rushing over the banks of Dominica's rivers and streams. Erika also swept away people who are still missing, authorities said.
In the Pacific, forecasters warned Hawaiians to keep track of Hurricane Ignacio. The 115-mph Category 3 storm was about 500 miles east of Honolulu as of the latest advisory from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. Ignacio is predicted to pass east and northeast of the main Hawaiian islands this week.
Meanwhile, an even stronger storm, Hurricane Jimena, was located about 1,400 miles east of Hilo, Hawaii, early Monday and was moving west-northwest at about 17 mph. The 150-mph Category 4 hurricane is expected to weaken only slightly before Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.
Hurricane seasons in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific end November 30.