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TS Andrea will put rain on Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Andrea has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and is sporting winds of 40 mph heading to a projected landfall on Florida’s peninsula.

At the 8 p.m. update Wednesday from the National Hurricane Center, the center of circulation of the storm was located 300 miles southwest of Tampa, moving north at 3 mph. A hurricane hunter aircraft “was able to identify a well-defined circulation” within the storm, the center said.

The consensus from most forecast computer models puts Andrea making landfall in the Big Bend area of Florida on Thursday afternoon or evening, bringing heavy rain, gusty winds, rough surf and severe thunderstorms to much of Florida. The storm will then quickly head north up the East Coast of the United States, maintaining tropical storm status as it goes.

If Andrea stays on its projected path, Coastal Alabama and Northwest Florida can expect numerous thunderstorms today, with locally heavy rainfall and lightning. Winds will be strong at times, gusting up to 45 mph. There also is a threat of tornadoes.