Storm dissipates off Florida but rain welcomed
MIAMI (Reuters) - Subtropical Storm Andrea dissipated off the U.S. Atlantic Coast on Thursday and promised only scant rainfall in Florida, where brush fires burned throughout the parched state.
Andrea's winds had helped fan the 225 wild fires burning in Florida, where the winter dry season was the third-driest on record. Much of the state was under water-use restrictions and blanketed with smoky haze from the fires.
Andrea was a subtropical storm, lacking the warm core and thunderstorms characteristic of a tropical storm. All warnings were dropped and the system was downgraded to a depression on Thursday when its sustained winds weakened to 35 mph (55 kph).
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said Andrea still could bring an inch of rain to coastal areas as the remnants drifted off the northeast Florida coast.
That would hardly be enough to douse the fires that burned in 52 of Florida's 67 counties.
Andrea formed three weeks before the official start of the Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
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