FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- After Tropical Storm Andrea officially formed Wednesday evening, Fairfield County began to brace for its possible impact as early as Friday, the National Weather Service said.
Andrea, a low pressure system currently in the Gulf of Mexico, is the first tropical storm of the 2013 hurricane season, which began on June 1. The National Weather Service predicted this year's hurricane season would be "extremely active."
Landfall for Tropical Storm Andrea is predicted for Thursday afternoon on the Florida panhandle. The storm is expected hug the Eastern Seaboard as it heads north, the weather service said. The storm is still in its early stages, but some forecasts predict Andrea will remain a tropical storm when it grazes the tristate area by Friday.
The National Weather Service has already issued a hazardous weather outlook for Fairfield County for Friday with heavy rainfall and urban and small stream flooding possible. Rain totals are predicted to be 2 to 2.5 inches or more from the low pressure system and its extensive tropical moisture. Accuweather.com forecasts heavy rain Friday into Saturday, but so far impacts from wind have yet to be determined.
Thankfully, the storm is not expected to increase in strength to become a hurricane, the weather service said.
“As we saw first-hand with Sandy, it’s important to remember that tropical storm and hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastline," acting NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan said in a statement. "Strong winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes often threaten inland areas far from where the storm first makes landfall.”
The news of Andrea's arrival so early in the season is dreaded in storm-weary Fairfield County. The area was battered last October by Hurricane Sandy, which brought epic rain and wind, causing extensive flooding, downed trees and power outages while destroying or damaging many coastal homes.
That was the second-half of a one-two punch started with Hurricane Irene, which hit in August 2011 and also caused widespread destruction. Connecticut declared states of emergency after both storms.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says weather models indicate that this year could see as many as 11 hurricanes, up to six of which could be Category 3 or above.
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