Andrea: Flood watch in effect

With the season's first named tropical storm -- Andrea -- forecast to track northeast from the Gulf, the National Weather Service has issued a flash-flood watch for the entire region for late tonight through late tomorrow night.

In its afternoon update, the weather service says the heaviest rain bursts are likely early tomorrow morning and during the early afternoon. Thunderstorms also are possible.

A widespread soaking -- up to 3 inches -- is possible, with isolated 5-inch amounts not out of the question, the weather service says.

Consider that in February, March, April, and May not more than 2.5 inches fell during any of those months.

At 2 p.m., Andrea's center was just west of the Florida west coast, with landfall expected in a few hours. Its peak sustained winds were 60 m.p.h., according to the National Hurricane Center.

Andrea is forecast to accelerate, track toward the Carolinas, then jog northward, passing near the Delmarva coast.

A tropical-storm warning is in effect for the coast near the Delaware-Maryland border. Here's the NHC link to the predicted path, along with other graphics.

Andrea won't be in Sandy's league but it will have one thing in common with it -- at some point between late tomorrow and this time Saturday it will become "post-tropical," the hurricane center says.

That simply means that it will behave more like a cool-season storm, losing its tropical characteristics.

That's a technical distinction that shouldn't make much difference to someone standing out in the rain.

Even after it becomes post-tropical, it still is forecast to pack tropical-storm force winds of 45 m.p.h.