Firstborn: Tropical Storm Andrea Forms in Gulf of Mexico
It seems like only yesterday we were here talking about the opening of hurricane season. Well, technically, day before yesterday. And just like that, we have our first named storm. Last night, the National Hurricane Center upgraded the disturbance formerly known as 91L to tropical storm status and it became Andrea. At the beginning of the week, it was thought the disturbance could grow into a named storm if it hung around in the Gulf long enough to outlast wind shear that was holding it back. It did and now Tropical Storm Andrea is lashing the entire peninsula of Florida with soaking rains and spawning tornado warnings.
But that's the bad news. The good news is that Andrea has just about peaked with winds at 60 mph and it hasn't formed the inner core so necessary for storms to sustain themselves. As Andrea approaches the upper Florida coastline, it is forecast to lose some strength as it encounters wind shear.
Beyond Friday, the storm should speed up and bring heavy rain and some wind to the extreme eastern parts of the southeastern U.S. It will eventually spin back out to sea off the coast of New England and out into the northern Atlantic.
The biggest threat at this point is flooding, both from coastal tides along the Florida Gulf coast and from heavy rains along Andrea's path.
As I mentioned in my post Tuesday, June is not normally an active month for hurricanes. We average about one storm every two years in June, but forecasters are calling for an active season and this is our first indicator they could be right.