The Latest: Heavy rains from Colin hit Florida, Georgia

AP News
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Posted: Jun 06, 2016 5:15 PM
The Latest: Heavy rains from Colin hit Florida, Georgia

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on Tropical Storm Colin (all times local):

5 p.m.

Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Colin have hit northern Florida and southern Georgia, knocking out power in some areas and flooding roads on the Gulf coast.

The National Hurricane Center says the storm was moving north-northeast at 23 mph (37 kph) and its center was about 190 miles west-northwest of Tampa at 5 p.m. Maximum sustained winds were measured at 50 mph, with a gust of 60 mph reported in Venice, Florida.

The agency also extended its tropical storm warning northeast to Oregon Inlet, North Carolina.

The center says the storm will continue to move at a faster speed tonight into Tuesday, with the center making landfall at Florida's Big Bend this evening.

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4:30 p.m.

About 7,600 people are without power in the Tampa Bay area due to Tropical Storm Colin.

Duke Energy said Monday afternoon that it had 3,600 customers without electricity, while Tampa Electric Company said on its website that 4,022 people were experiencing outages.

The storm's center was expected to travel north of Tampa Bay toward the Panhandle, but it still is having effects on the populated region.

Forecasters predicted 4 to 6 inches of rain in Tampa Bay.

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2 p.m.

Besides preparing for Tropical Storm Colin and hurricane season, Florida Gov. Rick Scott is also trying to combat a further outbreak of the Zika virus.

Scott said during his Monday briefing at the Emergency Management Center that Monday's storm is moving quickly, which shouldn't leave a lot of standing water. But it could lead to more mosquitoes.

Scott says he is frustrated because Congress went into recess without approving more money to combat the virus. He says "Congress should not have gone on vacation without funding Zika since Zika is not taking a vacation."

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1 p.m.

The Florida Highway Patrol has closed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to traffic due to high winds from Tropical Storm Colin.

The bridge, which spans Tampa Bay between Pinellas and Manatee counties, was shut down Monday. It's unknown when it will reopen.

A large swath of Florida is under a tropical storm warning.

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12:05 a.m.

Some Tampa Bay area high school seniors will have to wait a little longer to receive their high school diplomas, thanks to Tropical Storm Colin.

Hillsborough County Public Schools announced Monday that the graduation ceremonies for Tampa Bay Tech and Durant high schools have been postponed because of the threat of bad weather.

Tampa Bay Tech students will now graduate on Wednesday night, and Durant students will graduate on Thursday. Both ceremonies will take place at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

The storm is expected to bring heavy rain to much of central and north Florida on Monday.

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11:30 a.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in 34 Florida counties as Tropical Strom Colin approaches the state from the Gulf of Mexico.

Scott signed the order Monday morning.

A large swath of Florida is under a tropical storm warning. The counties included in the governor's declaration include the Tampa Bay region, much of the Panhandle, central Florida and the counties along the Atlantic beaches in northeast Florida.

Heavy rain is expected, and many coastal communities are providing sandbags for residents in low-lying areas prone to flooding.

Daniel Brown, a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, says strong wind shear and the system's poor organization make it unlikely that Colin will strengthen before reaching Florida's coastline.

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10:15 a.m.

On the Georgia coast, Savannah and surrounding Chatham County were under a tropical storm watch as Colin was expected to pass the area before dawn Tuesday.

Dennis Jones, director of the Chatham County Emergency Management Agency, said they're bracing for bad thunderstorms.

Jones says flash floods appeared to pose the greatest threat, with the worst flood potential expected late Tuesday when local waterways already swollen with rain crest with the high tide at about 10:40 p.m. Savannah-area authorities planned to keep a close watch for floodwaters on Georgia Highway 80, the only roadway linking the beach community of Tybee Island to the mainland.

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3 a.m.

Tropical Storm Colin is on its way to strike Florida on Monday and threatening rains forecasters say could cause some serious flooding along much of the state's Gulf coast.

A large portion of Florida's western and Panhandle coast was already under a tropical storm warning when the National Hurricane Center announced that a quickly moving depression had become a named storm. The center says it's the earliest that a third named storm has ever formed in the Atlantic basin.

Colin's maximum sustained winds Monday morning are near 40 mph (65 kph) with some strengthening forecast before reaching the Florida coast. The storm is centered about 410 miles (665 kilometers) southwest of Tampa and moving north near 10 mph (16 kph).