JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The National Weather Service in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center has placed all counties in WJXT's viewing area under a Tropical Storm Warning. This includes all inland counties in both northeast Florida and southeast Georgia. This means tropical storm conditions are expected within the next 36 hours.

In many cases, that has already come to fruition.

Tropical Storm Andrea really powered up over night. The hurricane hunters found that the pressure had dropped to 997 millibars with deepening convection (thunderstorms) near the center. Therefore the intensity was raised to 60 mph.

At this time, Andrea is not expected to become a hurricane although further strengthening is possible before late afternoon landfall. As of the 8 a.m. advisory, there were no changes in strength.

TS-Andrea-track-ThursdayAM Rainfall is quickly becoming an issue across the region. Rainfall rates of up to 2 inches per hour were observed with the first squall/feeder band that rolled through Jacksonville this morning. Another 4-8 inches of rainfall will be common across the region.

If you live in a low-lying, flood prone area, you need to be prepared to seek shelter at higher ground by this evening.

Conditions have already deteriorated quite rapidly and will continue to do so as the storm draws closer. Winds are not anticipated to be over 40 mph in Jacksonville or any of the surrounding counties but could briefly gust to 40 to 50 mph as the storm center or eye passes nearly right over head. All garbage cans and loose objects should be secured.

At this time, the only changes from the overnight hours is the increase in strength and the fact that all counties in our viewing area are now under a Tropical Storm Warning. Will update as necessary if any hurricane advisories are posted.

Andrea sets sights on Florida's Big Bend

WEDNESDAY 11:00 PM EDT POSTING

Tropical Storm Andrea is heading northeast towards the big bend of Florida at 3 mph. Due to the imminent arrival of the storm, a Tropical Storm Warning was issued from Boca Grande to Ochlockonee River. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm force winds are expected within the next 36 hours.

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from the East Coast from Flagler Beach northward to Surf City, N.C. A watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible in the next 48 hours.

At this time our inland counties of Florida and Georgia are not included in the tropical storm advisories. However, wind advisories have been hoisted for all inland locations that were not included in the tropical advisories.

Conditions in Jacksonville are expected to go downhill rapidly beginning around noon Thrusday. For that reason, Channel 4 meteorologists have declared Thursday a Weather Authority Alert Day for squally weather, gusty winds and periods of heavy rainfall.

The next hurricane recon mission is scheduled for 11:45 p.m. Wednesday. At that time, we'll have a better idea of direction, pressure and wind speed.

Keep an eye on the pressure. As long as the pressure continues to fall, the storm will continue to strengthen. Andrea is not anticipated to be a hurricane upon landfall late Thursday night.

Formation of season's 1st tropical storm imminent

WEDNESDAY 12:04 PM EDT POSTING

Tropical development of Invest 91L (the disturbance in the gulf) appears to be imminent, and for that reason, the National Hurricane Center has upped the percentage of development chance to 60% -- a high chance.

The National Weather Service in Jacksonville has placed most Florida counties in the Jacksonville viewing area under a Flood Watch for Thursday. The onset of very heavy, tropical downpours are expected in the area beginning Thursday morning.

The Hydrological Prediction Center, in conjunction with our in-house models, indicate that as much as 6 inches of rain could fall across the viewing area over the next 5 days with much of that coming on Thursday. Any substantial flooding, if any, should be limited to areas of poor drainage and low-lying areas that are prone to inundation.

The Hurricane Hunters have been activated as of Wednesday afternoon and are currently enroute to the disturbance to see if the squally weather has organized enough to be classified as a tropical depression or a tropical storm. If it becomes a tropical storm, it will be given the name Andrea.

The storm is expected to make landfall north of Cedar Key and west of Apalachicola within the next 36 hours (Thursday night) and with it extremely heavy rainfall and gusty southeast winds between 20 and 30 mph.

The conditions here in Jacksonville are expected to remain consistent with previous forecasts which was periods of heavy rain and winds southeast between 15 and 25 mph. Any flooding will be isolated to the usual suspected areas.

I want to make clear that this is not Tropical Storm Debby flooding situation. That storm was a very slow moving system that took several days to cross the peninsula. The result of the 12 to 16 inches of rain was catastrophic flooding along Black Creek and the St. Marys river.

By the time it was said and done, 1,800 families had registered with FEMA of which half were in Suwannee county. Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia and Suwannee counties were all declared federal disaster areas.