The season's first tropical storm likely will bring heavy rain to Florida's west coast Thursday north to the Panhandle, the National Hurricane Center said.
The Miami hurricane center issued a special advisory for the storm, named Andrea, late Wednesday after an airplane sent to a Gulf of Mexico weather disturbance found "well-defined circulation" in a broad mass of storms.
The eye of the rapidly rotating storm system is likely to reach Florida's so-called Big Bend, where the state on the Gulf side "turns a corner" into the Panhandle, Thursday afternoon or evening, said the center, a National Weather Service division.
It is then expected to move over southeastern Georgia and eastern South Carolina into Friday, pushed east by another front, the center said.
Florida is likely to experience heavy rainfall leading to flooding with some Gulf communities seeing coastal flooding from the storm surge, the center said. Tornadoes are also possible, it said.
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