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Tropical Storm Andrea Poised To Soak Entire Tri-State Area

First Storm Of Atlantic Hurricane Season Likely To Drop At Least 4 Inches

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Tropical Storm Andrea only formed Wednesday but she’s already making her presence known.

New Jersey will likely get a soaking from the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Andrea got a little stronger early Thursday as it headed toward Florida’s western coast. A new tropical storm warning was issued for a swath of the East Coast.

CHECK: Radar Forecast | Track The Storm

Andrea’s maximum sustained winds increased to near 65 mph. It was not expected to strengthen into a hurricane.

The storm dumped heavy rain and spawned at least one tornado in southern Florida. High winds were being blamed for downing several large trees and tossing trailers around neighborhoods.

The storm is expected to hug the coastline as it moves north. Forecasters say Andrea will approach from the south, bringing heavy rain to the Garden State on Friday.

“That rain will be heavy at times with a potential for a few inches of rain depending on the exact track of Andrea,” AccuWeather meteorologist Carl Erickson said.

Rain was already starting to move into New York on Thursday night, CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported. Flood alerts and flash flood watches were expected for early Friday. The first round of rain is expected to move in from the west, a second punch could appear as a result of Andrea.

The rain could produce small stream and urban flooding. Winds are expected out of the east. Forecasters say the steady rain will taper off late Friday night or early Saturday.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for portions of southern Connecticut, northeast New Jersey and southeast New York from Friday morning through Saturday afternoon. During that time, rainfall rates could reach between 1 and 2 inches per hour and total up to 4 inches or more.

FLOOD-PRONE HOBOKEN, N.J. ON ALERT

The storm is packing a punch as it prepares to head up the East Coast. That’s leaving people in flood-prone areas like Hoboken bracing for a deluge of rain, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported Thursday night.

“My basement had a few feet of water in it during the hurricane and it’s flooded a few times since then — a couple inches to a foot,” said resident Karen Hammerle, adding when asked if she’s concerned, “Sure! I hope it doesn’t affect my utilities or anything like that.”

Hoboken has activated its Office of Emergency Management and Community Emergency Response Team to handle possible flooding. Officials have also urged residents to move their cars out of flood-prone areas.

The city warned people about the rain headed toward the area, sending out the following tweet on Thursday:

“Flash flood watch issued for Fri and Sat – discounted garage parking available for residents in flood-prone areas.”

The discounted parking is available in Municipal Garages B and D.

Residents have seen firsthand just how bad it can get in Hoboken. Streets filled with water when heavy rains moved in just a few weeks ago.

And the PATH station was washed out during Hurricane Sandy.

“During Sandy, yes, the building was an island, so it was kind of crazy,” resident Drew Danish said.

When asked if he’s concerned the same thing could happen, Danish said, “Every now and then. I’ve been in Hoboken a while so I’m used to it at this point. Any bad rain you just prepare and expect it.”

For more information on Hoboken’s flood plan, click here.

LONG ISLAND BRACES FOR POSSIBLE FLOODING

On Long Island, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said the tropical storm threat comes at a bad time for many residents still recovering from Sandy.

More than seven months after the hurricane hit, Mangano said lots of homes are still in a fragile state.

“Many homes have not undergone the repairs. Certainly those residents that need to elevate their homes haven’t had the opportunity to do that. So we ask you to be extra vigilant,” Mangano told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.

Mangano also urged residents to download the free Nassau Now app for their smartphones, which he said will help keep residents informed during the storm.

Nassau Now app (credit: iTunes Store)

Nassau Now app (credit: iTunes Store)

“The most concerning part of that forecast is that the 2 to 4 inches of rain that they’re predicting at the height of it may come at high tide, and when it comes that there could be the possibility of coastal flooding,” said Mangano.

Temperatures on Friday are expected to be below normal.

Forecasters say Saturday will be rather cloudy with a couple of showers. High of 77. Nicer weather returns Sunday with intervals of clouds and sunshine and a high of 81.

For more information about Andrea or to track the storm’s path, visit www.nhc.noaa.gov.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)