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Tropical Storm Andrea rains on west coast of Florida

By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com

On Thursday, Tropical Storm Andrea moved over Florida, bringing heavy rain and high-speed winds.

Andrea is the first named tropical storm of hurricane season, and gusts from the storm reached 60 miles per hour.

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Forecasters predict the storm will not gain enough strength to become a hurricane, however, as it has little time to form in the Gulf of Mexico.

The storm is expected to make landfall in north Florida on Thursday, raining up to five inches. It will move north on Friday as a "non-tropical low-pressure system."

RELATED Tropical Storm Andrea moves onshore along Florida's West Coast

The National Hurricane Center upgraded Andrea from a tropical disturbance to a tropical storm on Wednesday, and Floridians are already seeing its effects, including tornado warnings early Thursday morning in Pinellas County and a handful of tornado watches elsewhere in Florida.

Tropical storm warnings have been in effect for much of Florida's west coast and the coastline all the way to the coast of Virginia. Andrea is expected to make landfall in the Big Bend area of Florida near Tallahassee and move north through parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.

Even before hitting land, rain has soaked much of the peninsula of Florida. Meteorologists predict Andrea's storm surge to be the worst of it, reaching between two and four feet.

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On land, Andrea will likely bring more isolated tornadoes, downed limbs and power lines, and flooding. Torrential rain is expected to bring at least six inches of rain and cause flooding in north Florida.

Tornadoes related to this type of storm are usually weak and only touch down briefly, leaving minimal damage compared to recent tornadoes in Oklahoma.

NOAA predicts between 13 and 20 named storms this hurricane season. A typical hurricane season has 12, three of which are major hurricanes -- those that fall above category three and have winds up to 111 miles per hour.

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