Fox News Weather Center

Gulf Storm Tropical Hazards, Impact on Florida, South

A budding tropical system rolling northeastward toward Florida into Thursday will bring heavy rain, gusty winds, rough surf and severe thunderstorms.

While not a major threat to lives and property, the storm can cause some damage, sporadic power outages and travel disruptions.

Downpours could flood some roadways, while thunderstorms could briefly delay flights.

Boaters along the west and east coast of Florida should exercise caution through the end of the week, due to the potential for rough seas in unprotected waters.

Bathers should be aware of the potential for frequent and strong rip currents from Florida to New England as the system approaches and moves along the Atlantic Seaboard.

Severe Thunderstorm, Tornado Risk

According to Tropical and Southern Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, "The system has the potential to produce a couple of brief tornadoes as it rolls ashore along the upper west coast of Florida Thursday."

The risk of tornadoes, although relatively small with weak tropical systems, would occur east and northeast of where the storm center makes landfall and would generally be limited to the daylight hours.

Although wind gusts in most cases will generally under 40 mph, locally higher gusts can occur in bands of showers and thunderstorms from the system. Sporadic power outages are possible as a result of downed tree limbs and wires.

Coastal Flooding

"The wind flow along the Florida west coast will be out of the south and southwest Thursday into Thursday night and can lead to an average water level water rise of 1 to 2 feet," Kottlowski said.

Winds will be slightly onshore along the Atlantic coast with the system as it moves along.

While such a water rise is relatively insignificant, it will occur a couple of days ahead of the new moon when tides are slightly higher to begin with.

Minor coastal flooding is possible, especially around times of high tide.

Flooding Rainfall

The greatest impact from the system will be heavy rainfall and the potential for urban and poor drainage area flooding.

"The storm has the potential to bring a swath of 4- to 8-inch rainfall with locally higher amounts from west-central Florida to northeastern Florida and along the southern Atlantic coast," Kottlowski said.

A secondary band of downpours may set up well inland, over the Appalachians as a result of tropical moisture and another weather system.

On a positive note, portions of Florida, North Carolina and other states in the South and East are in need of rainfall. It does not appear the storm will pick up forward speed rather than stall like Beryl did during May of 2012.

Andrea On Deck

The clock is ticking for the system to develop. Once the feature reaches Florida, it will likely stay over or very close to land along the southern Atlantic coast Friday, practically ending any chance of strengthening as a tropical system.

Prior to landfall in Florida, the realm of possibilities with the system stretches from an organized area of showers and thunderstorms to a tropical depression to a weak tropical or sub-tropical storm.

The first name on the list of Atlantic tropical cyclones for the 2013 season in Andrea.

The system is forecast by meteorologists to track northeastward into New England, where it will likely be soon joined by a non-tropical system moving in from the Midwest.

Heavy rain and locally rough surf will affect parts of the Northeast and Atlantic Canada into the weekend.