Tropical storm Andrea, after crossing northern Florida Thursday, is expected to move up the East Coast all the way to New England. The main threat is flooding and tornadoes, forecasters say.
Tropical storm Andrea, the Atlantic hurricane season's first tropical cyclone, is moving on shore Thursday in the "big bend" area of Florida's west coast, after reaching tropical-storm status early Wednesday evening.
Once its center crosses northern Florida, the storm is projected to remain at tropical storm-strength as it spirals inland along the southeast coast before heading into the Atlantic near the southern tip of Chesapeake Bay.
Back over open water, Andrea is expected to lose its tropical characteristics, although it is forecast to bring heavy rain and strong winds to the East Coast before swinging east into the far North Atlantic Sunday.
As of 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time Thursday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami had posted tropical-storm warnings along Florida's west coast from Boca Grande to Indian Pass, while on the Atlantic side, warnings are up along a stretch of coast running from Florida's Flagler Beach to the lower Chesapeake Bay.
The warning means that tropical-storm conditions are expected within 36 hours.
The storm, currently centered about 112 miles west of Tampa, Fla., is moving northeast and packing maximum sustained winds near 60 miles an hour, with higher gusts. The tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 140 miles east of the storm's center.
The biggest risk from the storm as it tracks over Florida comes from inland flooding and tornadoes. So far, the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., has received two reports of tornadoes in Florida: one in Pinellas County and the other in Broward County.