Tropical storm Colin could replenish Florida aquifers

Tropical Storm Colin hit Florida with a burst of rain Monday night but has since moved into the Atlantic Ocean.

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/AP
Guests leave CityWalk, at the Universal Orlando theme park complex, in a torrential downpour as first rain band from Tropical Storm Colin arrives at 2:04 p.m., on Monday, June 6. Tropical Storm Colin hit Florida with a burst of rain Monday night but has since moved into the Atlantic Ocean.

Quick-moving Tropical Storm Colin swept across Florida on Monday night, soaking the central part of the state but also offering a drink to thirsty aquifers. 

"Some of this rain could be 6 inches deep," CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. "Now many of these areas have been dry, so we'll take the rain. You just don't want the flooding with this."

Tropical Storm Colin was heavy on rain but also knocked out several power systems, maxing out at 50 mile per hour winds at Big Bend and moving into the Atlantic Ocean by morning, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

March and April were relatively warm and dry in most of Florida, with a warm front blocking customary rainfall, but the rainstorms of early summer have now replenished any deficits to the state's water, according to the National Weather Service. 

The likely refill of Florida aquifers is cheering to meteorologists, but the state still prepared for the damages of a tropical storm in the short-term. Republican Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency across 34 counties. 

"As our state continues to feel the impact of Tropical Storm Colin and it makes landfall this evening, it is critical that all Floridians use caution and remain alert," Governor Scott said in a statement Monday evening. "Tonight, areas across our state will continue to experience heavy rain, tropical storm force winds, possible tornadoes and flooding. It is important for all families to remain informed of the storm's movements and continue to exercise caution before leaving home as rain chances are expected to remain high throughout the week."

The Florida National Guard has been activated, providing 6,000 guards to help with rescue and recovery efforts. The emergency managers throughout the storm-hit areas said they were ready to deal with up to 4 inches of rain, but the storm's fast trajectory prevented serious rain concentrations in one area, the Orlando Sentinel reported. No floods have been reported as a result. 

"Overall, it looks like the worst of this one is over," Matt Bragaw, a National Weather Service meteorologist told the Orlando Sentinel, explaining that, "It will be normal Florida summer weather again."

Warnings were issued for tornadoes, but that threat seems to have passed unrealized. The main impact, as reported so far, has been power outages to more than 2,000 customers during the night.

"Central Florida will continue to see a couple squalls but nothing really outside some strong wind gusts and heavy rain," Mr. Bragaw told the Orlando Sentinel.

Weather watchers expect the fast-moving storm to clear Florida completely by Tuesday afternoon, possibly leaving enough residual moisture for a few more rainstorms. The tropical system is continuing to gain speed throughout Tuesday and is forecast to run parallel to, but about 45 miles away from, the US coast. Although warnings have been issued for coastal areas in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, tropical storm Colin is expected to remain at sea. 

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