• Credit: usnews.nbcnews.com

A fast-moving Tropical Storm Andrea, the first named storm of the 2013 hurricane season, sped up the East Coast without doing serious damage last week. But the storm did bring record rainfall to some locations, the Virginian-Pilot reported ("Weakened Andrea breaks Northeast rainfall records," by Jake Pearson/AP). "Andrea dumped 6.64 inches of rain on Gales Ferry, Conn.," the paper reports. "The 4.16 inches that fell on New York City's Central Park was more than double the previous record for the date, set in 1918. The 3.5 inches of rain that fell at Philadelphia International Airport doubled the 1.79 inches that fell in 1904. Newark, N.J., saw 3.71 inches, breaking the previous mark of 1.11 inches set in 1931."

Tropical Storm Andrea quickly spun up into a strong tropical storm with 60-mph winds as it crossed into Florida from the Gulf of Mexico, then weakened into a fast-moving rainmaker as it raced up the Atlantic Coast.

But the fast-moving storm passed on into the North Atlantic without doing significant damage. Even the vulnerable North Carolina Route 12, the slender lifeline serving the Outer Banks, carried uninterrupted traffic, according to North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) reports.

In a Weather Underground blog post, hurricane expert Jeff Masters says Andrea is an example of a striking trend: In recent years, hurricane season has been starting earlier and lasting longer ("Tropical Storm Andrea Spreading Heavy Rains to U.S. East Coast"). "Andrea's formation in June continues a pattern of an unusually large number of early-season Atlantic named storms we've seen in recent years," comments Masters. "Climatologically, June is the second quietest month of the Atlantic hurricane season, behind November. During the period 1870 - 2012, we averaged one named storm every two years in June, and 0.7 named storms per year during May and June. In the nineteen years since the current active hurricane period began in 1995, there have been fifteen June named storms (if we include 2013's Tropical Storm Andrea). June activity has nearly doubled since 1995, and May activity has more than doubled (there were seventeen May storms in the 75-year period 1870 – 1994 [0.137 per year], compared to 6 in the 19-year period 1995 – 2013 [0.316 per year].)"