Tropical Storm Andrea Bearing Down on Florida Coast

MIAMI (AP) -

The first named storm of the Atlantic season pelted Florida’s Gulf Coast with rain and wind Thursday as it edged toward the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas, promising sloppy commutes and waterlogged vacation getaways.

Tropical Storm Andrea was not expected to strengthen into a hurricane but it had already generated numerous tornadoes in Florida, and forecasters warned it could cause isolated flooding and storm surge before it loses its steam over the next two days.

Tropical storm warnings were in effect for a large section of Florida’s west coast, from Boca Grande to Indian Pass, and for the East Coast from Flagler Beach, Fla., all the way to Cape Charles Light in Virginia and the lower Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere in the warning area within a day and a half.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said one of the biggest risks associated with the storm is the chance of tornadoes, eight of which had been confirmed Thursday across the state.

“This one fortunately is a fast-moving storm,” he said. Slower-moving storms can pose a greater flood risk because they have more time to linger and dump rain.

John Elardo, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., said the storm would push major waves to the north and northeast, away from the Outer Banks, where a series of storms in the fall and winter wore away dunes and washed out portions of N.C. Highway 12, the only road connecting the barrier island to the mainland of North Carolina.