Tropical Storm Warning for Florida’s Gulf Coast
Forecasters warn of severe thunderstorms along the East Coast and have issued a tropical storm warning for Florida’s Gulf Coast.
National forecasters also issued a tropical storm warning for Florida’s Gulf Coast after a tropical depression gusting winds around 35 mph formed about 125 miles northwest of Cozumel, Mexico.
The storm warning affected the coastline from Englewood to Indian Pass in the Florida Panhandle. The system was expected to strengthen into a tropical storm before approaching Florida’s coast Monday afternoon and evening, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
On its current track, the center would land around the Big Bend region near the Panhandle, the agency said.
The storm could dump as much as8 inches of rain on the state, with the potential for 1 to 3 feet of flooding if storm surge occurs at high tide, the hurricane center said. Sandbags are being made available in the Tampa area.
Florida heightened the response level of its State Emergency Operations Center on Sunday to provide emergency planning and support, but had not fully activated all emergency functions.
“As we continue to closely monitor this tropical depression, Floridians should remain vigilant and have an emergency plan for their families and businesses in place today,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said in a statement.
The storm, which forecasters will name Colin, is part of a brisk start to the Atlantic hurricane season running through 30 November. Over Memorial Day weekend, the Carolinas were lashed by heavy rain and winds from Tropical Storm Bonnie.
In Texas, where torrential rains led to flooding last week that killed at least 16 people, the waters were expected to recede as the weather dries out, said Mark Null, hydrologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service’s West Gulf River Forecast Center.
“It’s going to be a slow drain,” he said in a interview Monday.