On Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded Andrea from a tropical disturbance to a tropical storm. The storm has been building recently in the Gulf of Mexico, and is now the first named storm of the 2013 hurricane season.
A tropical storm warning is now under effect for the west coast of Florida, and particularly the Tampa Bay Area. In addition, a tornado watch is under effect for some portions of the west coast and the Gulf of Mexico. The NHC states that the main threats from the storm are the isolated tornadoes that could spin off throughout the day on Thursday, along with flooding and heavy rainfall. Tampa could be hit with as much as 7 inches of rain, with higher amounts possible in some areas.
The NHC is advising residents to prepare for the rain and heavy winds by securing outdoor objects and abandoning mobile homes that are not well-anchored.
Andrea is expected to twist to the northeast over the weekend, hitting most of the eastern coast of the U.S. Tropical storm warnings have also been issued for the eastern coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.