At 11 a.m., the center of Post-Tropical Cyclone Colin was estimated 120 miles southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
The post-tropical cyclone is moving toward the northeast near 36 mph and this motion is expected to continue with some increase in forward speed this afternoon and tonight.
The center of Colin will move near and parallel to the outer banks of North Carolina during the next couple of hours, then offshore well east of the mid-Atlantic coast later today. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 60 mph with higher gusts, although the system's strongest winds and heaviest rains are located over water well southeast of the center.
Some slight strengthening is possible today and tonight, but gradual weakening is expected to begin on Wednesday.
RAINFALL: Colin is expected to produce additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches across far eastern North Carolina and 1 to 3 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 5 inches, across central Florida through this evening.
NEXT COMPLETE UPDATE: 5 p.m.
EARLIER REPORT: At 5 a.m., the center of Tropical Storm Colin was 110 miles northeast of Jacksonville. The National Weather Service Jacksonville discontinued the Tropical Storm Warning and Flood Watch for Duval County.
Most of the wind and rain associated with Tropical Storm Colin have moved off the Florida coast.
Colin is moving toward the northeast near 31 mph and this motion is expected to continue with an increase in forward speed today and tonight.
On the forecast track, the center of Colin should move near and parallel to the coast of the southeastern U.S. today. However, it's important to note that the strongest winds and heaviest rains are well removed from the center.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft and ship data indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph, with higher gusts. Some increase in strength is expected during the next 24 hours. However, Colin is also expected to lose its tropical cyclone characteristics by tonight.
RAINFALL: Colin is expected to produce additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches across eastern North Carolina and central Florida through today. Rainfall is expected to diminish across northern Florida, coastal Georgia, and eastern South Carolina this morning.
Ready or not, a tropical system could threaten Florida as early as Monday.
Whether it has a name or not, heavy rain and flooding will be the biggest potential hazards. The panhandle is likely to be spared, but much of the peninsula could be soaked by several inches of rain over a two-day period starting Monday.
If the system strengthens into a formidable tropical storm, minor wind damage and coastal flooding will also be possible somewhere from the Nature Coast to the Florida Keys.
Confidence is Growing
The National Hurricane Center has identified an area of interest as having a “medium” chance of development in the next five days near or just north of the Yucatan Peninsula.
This is a common location for early season activity, and when something forms, it typically moves toward Florida.
Forecast guidance is in reasonable agreement that a tropical area of low pressure will develop Sunday or Monday. What it does next is the big forecast challenge at this point.
The two big players on the field that will influence the system are an approaching front from the north and an upper-level area of low pressure over Texas. The location, strength and motion of both features will either contribute to or work against cyclone development.
The most likely scenario is that a weak tropical storm will be teaming up with the approaching front to produce significant rain and possible flooding across a large portion of the peninsula. Minor wind damage and isolated tornadoes would also be a concern, especially near and just south of the storm’s track. Other possible outcomes range from nothing more than a very weak tropical disturbance with lots of rain to something potentially as strong as a weak hurricane moving toward the west coast of Florida.
A look ahead
Tropical moisture will be funneled toward the state by an approaching front in Southeast US. Periods of heavy rain and thunder will become common in much of central and south Florida as early as Sunday afternoon. More widespread, heavier rain is expected Monday and Tuesday as the potential tropical development nears. Rainfall amounts could range from 1 to 2 inches in north and south Florida, to as much as 4 or 5 inches in part of central Florida.