Tropical Storm Andrea moved closer to Florida's Big Bend Thursday, bringing the
possibility of tornadoes across central and southern parts of the state.
The first named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, was about 160 miles west of Tampa and 140 miles south of Apalachiacola, heading toward the north-northeast at 14 mph, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 8 a.m. EDT advisory.
Tropical storm warnings were posted for Florida's West Coast from Boca Grande to Indian Pass.
Tropical storm warnings also were posted on the East Coast from Flagler Beach to the Cape Charles lighthouse in Virginia, including the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds, and the lower Chesapeake Bay.
Andrea was forecast to turn toward the northeast with increased forward speed and expected to reach Florida's Big Bend area later Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said. It was then expected to move across southeastern Georgia, southeastern South Carolina and eastern North Carolina by Friday.
The center said it didn't expect any significant change in Andrea's strength before it reached the coast.
Tropical Storm Andrea could bring tornadoes over the Florida peninsula Friday, the center said.
Tropical storm force winds extended as much as 140 miles from the center.
The hurricane center said the combination of a storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded.
Andrea is expected bring heavy rain to areas included in the tropical storm warning.
CNN reported Andrea pummeled Cuba with heavy downpours Wednesday.
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