Less than one week after the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, the southeastern United States is bracing for a new tropical storm.
The arrival of tropical storm Colin, which developed from a tropical depression this weekend, follows the early arrival of hurricane Alex in January and the Memorial Day weekend landing of tropical storm Bonnie. Hurricane season traditionally begins on June 1, and the National Hurricane Center said Colin’s formation signals the earliest a third named storm has developed in the Atlantic, highlighting the unpredictability this season brings.
Colin is expected to hit western Florida Monday afternoon, where it could bring heavy rains, wind, and flooding.
“It's going to impact most of the state in some way,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott told The Associated Press. “Hopefully we won't have any significant issues here, but we can have some storm surge, some rain, tornados and some flooding.”
“Floridians should remain vigilant and have an emergency plan for their families and businesses in place today,” he added in a statement, according to Reuters.
Last week, President Obama advised Americans to have a plan in place in the event of an oncoming storm warning, including preparing emergency kits and having evacuation arrangements. The Ready.gov website also has recommendations by the Department of Homeland Security related to hurricane safety, with storm preparedness tips and guides for people in the path of a hurricane.
Tropical storms usually bring winds ranging from 35 to 72 miles per hour. On Monday morning, Colin’s winds were clocked at around 50 miles per hour, with the potential to speed up, while the storm system was moving north-northeast at around 14 miles per hour.
Colin is expected to impact Florida’s Big Bend Coast before moving across the state and into Georgia and the Carolinas, where a tropical storm warning is in effect. Up to 8 inches of rain could fall across the region, bringing a possible 1 to 3 feet of flooding depending on tide levels during Colin’s arrival.
The tropical storm is the latest extreme weather event in a week that saw heavy rains hit several mid-Atlantic states on Sunday, following severe rainfall and flooding in Texas that left 16 dead. States in the southwest experienced temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, aggravating wildfires in California.
Hurricane season runs through November, and is expected to bring 10 to 16 named storms including Alex, Bonnie, and Colin.
This report contains material from Reuters and the Associated Press.