The forecast track of Tropical Storm Andrea shows it moving up the East Coast over the next few days.(Graphic: National Hurricane Center)
(USA Today) -- Tropical Storm Andrea has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center in Miami reported Wednesday afternoon. It is the first named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season.
As of 6 p.m. ET, the storm had winds of 40 mph and was moving to the north at 3 mph. The center of the storm was located about 310 miles southwest of Tampa.
A hurricane hunter aircraft "was able to identify a well-defined circulation" within the storm, the hurricane center said.
Tropical storm warnings have been put in place along the west coast of Florida from Boca Grande to Ochlocknee River.
Andrea will bring heavy rain, gusty winds, rough surf and severe thunderstorms to much of Florida on Thursday, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
The storm's center should make landfall along the coast of Florida's Big Bend on Thursday afternoon or evening, the hurricane center reports.
It is then forecast to head up the Eastern Seaboard on Friday and Saturday, delivering heavy rain and thunderstorms from the Mid-Atlantic to New England. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the East Coast from Flagler Beach, Fla., to Surf City, N.C.
Andrea is not forecast to strengthen into a hurricane.
The system has already produced drenching rain in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and in western Cuba, the hurricane center reported.
By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY