By Steve Strouss
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The first Tropical Storm of the Atlantic Season formed Wednesday. Tropical Storm Andrea is 270 miles wsw of Tampa, Florida. Heavy rain is falling along the West Coast of Florida. Max sustained winds are 40 mph and it is slowly moving to the north at 6 mph. Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings are now in effect for parts of coastal Florida and stretch as far north as Surf City, North Carolina.
The main threat with Andrea will be heavy rain. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches are possible over the Florida Peninsula. Andrea is expected to move northward over the next 24-48 hours and the moisture from the storm will combine with an area of low pressure currently in the Midwest. As these areas come together later this week, the Philadelphia region could pick up substantial amounts of rain especially on Friday. The exact timing and placement of the storm will determine how much rain but right now it appears that 1-2.5″ is likely. The storm will pick up speed as it moves north but the highest wind gusts along the coast could reach 50 mph (40 mph inland) and storm surge does not appear to be a major threat. With the memories of Irene and Sandy still fresh in our mind, the CBS3 weather team will keep you updated on this developing storm.