Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Coast Facing Season's 1st Soak

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Coast Facing Season's 1st Soak

Article excerpt

SARASOTA

TROPICAL STORM ANDREA: Packing gusts and up to 7 inches of rainfall locally

Five days into the 2013 hurricane season, the first named storm, Tropical Storm Andrea, spun to life in the Gulf of Mexico off the Southwest Florida coast, with forecasters predicting it would bring up to 30 mph wind gusts and as much as 7 inches of rain to Sarasota and Manatee counties today.

Tornadoes and urban flooding, along with coastal flooding, high surf and rip currents, were anticipated as the storm moves northeast toward an expected landfall this afternoon or tonight in the Big Bend area of the peninsula.

Tropical storm warnings were issued for the Gulf Coast north of Boca Grande to Appalachicola. A tropical storm watch was posted on the Atlantic coastline, from north of Daytona Beach to southern North Carolina.

Wednesday night, the storm's center was some 300 miles southwest of Tampa, moving slowly north before an expected turn toward the northeast.

It is forecast to pick up speed today as it interacts with another weather system, giving it little time to intensify. It is expected to track across southeastern Georgia and the Carolinas, and by Saturday be off the New England coast, having lost its tropical characteristics.

Andrea's main threat in Southwest Florida is expected to be tied to rainfall.

Strong winds high in the atmosphere are expected to intensify today, tearing at the storm's structure, which on Wednesday afternoon was lopsided, with dry air on the west side interfering with its development.

Most of the showers and thunderstorms were on the east side.

On Wednesday afternoon, an Air Force reconnaissance plane identified a center of circulation and sustained winds above 35 mph, prompting the National Hurricane Center to upgrade the disturbance they'd begun watching last weekend.

The system has caused flooding in the Yucatan and in Cuba, but rain did not really begin to affect Southwest Florida until Wednesday night.

Local emergency management crews were monitoring the system, and were advising residents to do the same. …

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