Andrea, the first tropical storm of what's predicted to be a busy Atlantic hurricane season, formed Wednesday over the Gulf of Mexico. The storm was expected to bring heavy rain to the west coast of Florida during the next few days, the New York Daily News reported.
Tropical Storm Andrea was swirling over the east-central Gulf, about 310 miles southwest of Tampa, Fla., while packing maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said. The storm, which is not expected to intensify into a hurricane, posed no threat to U.S. oil and gas operations in the Gulf, according to Reuters.
Andrea was forecast to make landfall over northwest Florida late on Thursday before moving over southeastern Georgia and eastern South Carolina, the center said. Forecasters issued a tropical storm warning for a portion of the Florida coast beginning at Boca Grande -- an island to northwest of Fort Myers -- and ending in the Big Bend area, the Daily News said.
The hurricane center warned that the storm was forecast to dump heavy rainfall across much of the Florida Peninsula and was likely to cause storm surge flooding along parts of Florida's west coast, Reuters said. Andrea could introduce tornadoes across Florida into Thursday, the center added.
A forecast map predicts Andrea will move along the East Coast through the weekend before traveling out to sea, though such a prediction is hard to make this far in advance, the Daily News reported.