Update: Tropical Storm Colin 2016 on path for Florida Gulf Coast – AL.com

The Atlantic on Sunday got its third named tropical storm less than a week into hurricane season, and tropical storm warnings were accumulating on the Florida coast.

The National Hurricane Center said Sunday that Tropical Storm Colin would likely make landfall on Monday afternoon or evening on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The hurricane center upgraded the storm earlier Sunday after getting reports of tropical-storm force winds from an Air Force Reserve Unit Hurricane Hunter aircraft.

With the status change, Colin is also making a bit of history:

Colin is a minimal tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, according to the hurricane center. The threshold for a storm to get a name is 39 mph.

As of 10 p.m. CDT, Colin was located about 455 miles south-southwest of Appalachicola, Fla., and was moving north at 9 mph.

A new warning was added late Sunday for Altamaha Sound in Georgia to Sebastian Inlet on Florida’s Atlantic coast.

A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions will be possible in the warned area within 24 hours.

A tropical storm watch was also in effect Sunday from north of Altamaha Sound to South Santee River in South Carolina.

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The hurricane center cautioned Sunday night against focusing on Colin’s exact forecast track. Strong winds, heavy rain and coastal flooding are forecast to affect areas well to the east of the center of circulation.

Colin will be a rainmaker more than anything. The hurricane center said the storm could produce 3-5 inches of rain in Florida, and isolated areas could get up to 8 inches.

The hurricane center said storm surge of 1-3 feet above normal would be possible along the Florida coast from Indian Pass to Tampa Bay. One to 2 feet is possible from south of the bay to Florida Bay.

Isolated tornadoes will also be possible in Florida and southern Georgia as Colin comes ashore.

6-5 colin wind speed probs 1.jpgHere’s where forecasters expect Colin’s winds to be felt the most as it tracks into Florida and beyond. (National Hurricane Center) 

The hurricane center said Colin was expected to continue northward in the Gulf, then pick up speed and turn more to the northeast tonight and into Monday.

It is expected to remain a tropical storm but could strengthen a bit before landfall. Strong wind shear was anticipated to keep it from intensifying into a hurricane.

The hurricane center said that Colin still did not appear organized Sunday night, and its low-level center was hard to pinpoint.

Another reconnaissance mission was planned overnight that would forecasters hoped would help determine its location.

The storm is not expected to directly affect Alabama’s coast, but the National Weather Service in Mobile said Sunday it that it will bring a high risk of rip currents to the state’s beaches on Monday and Tuesday.

Colin is following on the heels of Tropical Storm Bonnie, which made landfall last week as a depression in South Carolina and degenerated into a post-tropical storm late Saturday.

Hurricane season lasts through Nov. 30.

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