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Tropical Storm Colin Becomes Earliest “C” Storm in Atlantic History

By: Bob Henson 1:50 AM GMT on June 06, 2016

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center upgraded Tropical Depression 3 to Tropical Storm Colin in a special update at 5:30 PM EDT Sunday, June 5--making some history along the way. Never before have we been tracking the Atlantic’s third named storm of a calendar year this early in the year. As noted in a weather.com article, there have been two other “C” storms as early as June since current naming practices began in the 1950s: Hurricane Chris (which began as a named subtropical storm on June 18, 2012) and Tropical Storm Candy (June 23, 1968). Going all the way back to 1851, the previous earliest appearance of the season’s third storm was June 12, 1887, although some early-season storms were undoubtedly missed during the pre-satellite era.

As of 8 PM EDT Sunday, Tropical Storm Colin was located in the south central Gulf of Mexico at 23.4°N, 87.8°W, or about 460 miles southwest of Tampa, Florida. Colin is a minimal tropical storm, with top sustained winds of just 40 mph, and only modest further strengthening is expected before Colin approaches the northwest Gulf Coast of the Florida peninsula on Monday evening. The well-defined southwesterly flow steering Colin will take it into the Atlantic and on a track paralleling the southeast U.S. coast on Tuesday, where models suggest it will maintain or regain tropical storm strength, especially southeast of North Carolina. Update: At 11:00 PM EDT Sunday, NHC placed the southeast U.S. coast from Sebastian Inlet, FL, to Altamaha Sound, GA, under a tropical storm warning, with a tropical storm watch extending northward from the warning area to the South Santee River, SC. A tropical storm warning remains in effect on the Florida Gulf Coast from Indian Pass to Englewood.

As shown in Figure 1, the steering flow will keep Colin moving northeast rather than curving north or northwest toward the U.S. East Coast. The storm’s heaviest rains will likely remain just off the Southeast coast, although residents along the immediate coast should be prepared for tropical storm conditions and heed precautions as recommended by local authorities.


Figure 1. WU depiction of official forecast track of Tropical Storm Colin as of 8 PM EDT Sunday, June 6, 2016.


Figure 2. This enhanced infrared satellite image of Tropical Storm Colin from 8:37 PM EDT Sunday, June 6, 2016, shows convection blossoming (red and yellow colors) south of Colin’s center of circulation. Image credit: CSU/CIRA/RAMMB.


Colin has a quite elongated, asymmetric structure, with most of its showers and thunderstorms (convection) on its east flank, although very strong convection was beginning to bubble on Colin’s south side on Sunday evening (see Figure 2 above) as the circulation moves away from the Yucatan Peninsula. The nighttime burst in convection common to tropical storms will give Colin an opportunity to strengthen overnight over very warm waters of around 28°C (82-83°F). On Monday, wind shear will increase along Colin’s track toward the Florida coast (see Figure 4 below), which will limit the storm’s ability to strengthen further. The shear will also tend to favor a continuation of Colin’s asymmetric structure.


Figure 3. A plethora of watches, warnings, and advisories covered the central Florida peninsula and nearby waters on Sunday evening, June 5, 2016. Image credit: NWS.


Despite its modest strength, Colin may pack a noteworthy punch across Florida over the next day or so. Intense thunderstorms can be expected to race northward across the peninsula from Sunday night through Monday. Some of these may spawn tornadoes, as the vertical wind shear that limits Colin’s growth as a tropical system will also favor the development of rotating updrafts within thunderstorms. At high tide early Monday afternoon, a storm surge of 1 to 3 feet (perhaps higher in some areas) could affect the immediate coastline from Indian Pass south to Tampa Bay, with 1 to 2 feet possible south of Tampa Bay to Florida Bay. Very heavy rains are also on tap for much of the peninsula, with amounts easily topping 6” to 8” in localized areas.

We’ll have a full update on Colin by midday Monday. We are also keeping our eye on two areas of potential tropical development in the Northeast Pacific, although the odds are slim that either one will develop over the next two to three days.

Bob Henson


Figure 4. As it moves northward toward the west coast of Florida, Tropical Storm Colin will encounter increasing vertical wind shear (shown here in knots; multiply by 1.15 for mph). This wind shear will limit Colin’s ability to strengthen before it strikes the Florida coast. Image credit: University of Wisconsin/SSEC.

Hurricane

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Just got hit with a 50 mph gust on Ben T Davis beach
The GFS is slowly correcting itself in coming back west in riding Colin closer to the SE coast..

Quoting 470. nash36:




I remember Barry. We had around 2' of tidal surge from Barry, but not much weather that I can remember.



In my opinion, Barry was far more defined. I don't think that's necessarily the best example to provide for a proper argument, but I get what you're saying. How bashed would I get on here by hypothetically stating I don't believe this has ever been a true tropical cyclone and should never have been classified as such? Not saying that, just wondering, hypothetically.

Ughh. Having problems with pics, but here's a link to it. Barry most certainly had a compact, vigorous and easily definable surface low. I know that as it made landfall it was uglier and broad.

Do these buttons under the typing window not work anymore? Wouldn't let me insert a link or pic. Just disappeared after I hit submit. Had to bust out the old html skills. lol
Quoting 457. SLU:



The Caribbean is primed for a "supercane" like Dean with the La Nina on the way.




I've been to Costa Maya, Mexico twice now, where Dean made landfall. That area was just literally wiped out and hasn't come close to recovering yet. In 2014, our guide explained that the port was destroyed and after they re-built the pier, they went from having 3 cruise ships daily to 1/week. As we drove through the town, few homes remained and lots of slabs. The cruise terminal was supported by people driving 3 hours each way from Cancun with the buses in order to give the various tours. I was there again this January and 3 cruise ships were there at the same time and the cruise terminal definitely had more businesses and activity. But it will still be a lot longer until that area is even close to where it was before. It was an interesting comparison to the Biloxi area which I saw had made a lot more re-building progress in just a year after Katrina.
This storm re mind me if the 1993 super day storm
Latest update from NWS, Wilmington, NC

Venice airport just recently reported a 51 mph gust with the squall line moving through.
Quoting 502. ncstorm:

The GFS is slowly correcting itself in coming back west in riding Colin closer to the SE coast..




Probably right. But I always remember the forecasters maxim

"Don't verify a forecast with another forecast"
Quoting 499. Houdude:

Sure looks like the East Pacific disturbance could cross Mexico's Isthmus of Tehuantepec at its narrowest point into the Southern Gulf of Mexico. It's happened many times before.


Local news on Ch. 2 was mentioning a moisture surge from the BOC coming to TX by the weekend last week. It maybe about to become a reality
Quoting 476. weathermanwannabe:

Repeating as usual for all those across the inland cone, and on the Florida Peninsula, that all this rain (well in advance of the coc) is going to soak and weaken tree limbs; on the chance of some t-storm gusts later this afternoon or evening, make sure to park your cars and boats in a protected area away from potential falling trees and branches.



At least you don't get the enormous loads of what sometimes accumulates on our tree limbs in winter :-)

But not to detract, the quoted post is good advice. I try to park my cars away from trees when thunderstorms are
in the forecast. My mazda still has a large dent in the roof from a July 2014 storm where I failed to do this.
Looks like pretty wide spread 40-50 mph winds with that squall line moving north up the coast. I think that line is most likely the strongest winds associated with this system.
Here just north of Charleston, there is moderate rain since about 9. It is also breezy.
The Panama City region, which is prone to flooding in many low lying parts, is now under flash flood warnings:
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
1017 AM CDT MON JUN 6 2016

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TALLAHASSEE HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN BAY COUNTY IN THE PANHANDLE OF FLORIDA...

* UNTIL 115 PM CDT

* AT 1016 AM CDT...DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCING
HEAVY RAIN ACROSS THE WARNED AREA. FOUR TO FIVE INCHES OF RAIN
HAVE FALLEN. FLASH FLOODING IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN SHORTLY.

* SOME LOCATIONS THAT WILL EXPERIENCE FLOODING INCLUDE...
PANAMA CITY...LYNN HAVEN...PANAMA CITY BEACH...CALLAWAY...SPRINGFIELD...
MEXICO BEACH...HILAND PARK...TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE...PARKER...BAYOU
GEORGE...MILLVILLE...RECOTA BEACH...VICKSBURG...SOUTHPORT...COLLEGE
STATION...BAY HARBOR...DAVIS BEACH...GULF LAGOON BEACH...BAYHEAD AND
BRANNONVILLE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TURN AROUND...DON`T DROWN WHEN ENCOUNTERING FLOODED ROADS. MOST FLOOD
DEATHS OCCUR IN VEHICLES.

Still high and dry here in the Miami Ft. Lauderdale area with not one drop of rain yet from this system. Cloudy, breezy and very muggy but no rain yet. But of course that could change latter.
Quoting 501. RavensFan:

Just got hit with a 50 mph gust on Ben T Davis beach


10 knots tops in downtown tampa very disappointing performance
Local Wx stations only reporting .5 precip so far, looks like we'll have a lovely sunset this evening while Tallahassee will be getting soaked.

Shot this yesterday afternoon looking SW over the Gulf (Dune Allen Beach) while we where heading to the courts to get some tennis in before the rain started.

well first look for the day looks exactly as expected

Quoting 513. weathermanwannabe:

The Panama City region, which is prone to flooding in many low lying parts, is now under flash flood warnings:
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
1017 AM CDT MON JUN 6 2016

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TALLAHASSEE HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN BAY COUNTY IN THE PANHANDLE OF FLORIDA...

* UNTIL 115 PM CDT

* AT 1016 AM CDT...DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCING
HEAVY RAIN ACROSS THE WARNED AREA. FOUR TO FIVE INCHES OF RAIN
HAVE FALLEN. FLASH FLOODING IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN SHORTLY.

* SOME LOCATIONS THAT WILL EXPERIENCE FLOODING INCLUDE...
PANAMA CITY...LYNN HAVEN...PANAMA CITY BEACH...CALLAWAY...SPRINGFIELD...
MEXICO BEACH...HILAND PARK...TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE...PARKER...BAYOU
GEORGE...MILLVILLE...RECOTA BEACH...VICKSBURG...SOUTHPORT...COLLEGE
STATION...BAY HARBOR...DAVIS BEACH...GULF LAGOON BEACH...BAYHEAD AND
BRANNONVILLE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TURN AROUND...DON`T DROWN WHEN ENCOUNTERING FLOODED ROADS. MOST FLOOD
DEATHS OCCUR IN VEHICLES.






I know, it's been non stop rain here.. dumping pool so house won't flood, front yard holding water. Not happy here.. we were forecast to have only 2-3 inches woke up at three this morning and started stressing..
Quoting 514. HurriHistory:

Still high and dry here in the Miami Ft. Lauderdale area with not one drop of rain yet from this system. Cloudy, breezy and very muggy but no rain yet. But of course that could change latter.
eastern side in south will have to wait till the crossing to get rain even then most of it will be northern half of the state
Looks like recon has taken off, will be interesting to see what they find this afternoon.
When should us here in pinellas expect the highest winds. NWS is still calling for winds in my area 30-40 with gust to 60 MPH. Thanks in advanced
522. ronnm
Regarding 503

"How bashed would I get on here by hypothetically stating I don't believe this has ever been a true tropical cyclone and should never have been classified as such? Not saying that, just wondering, hypothetically."


I trust those who state this is/was a tropical storm advancing from a depression. Why would they lie, or be so incompetant to incorrectly do so? It is their field of study.
Finally some rain and wind in DT Tampa still pretty lame
Quoting 491. 999Ai2016:

Not sure... Could it merge, like Sandy did, with another nearby large scale atmos. feature making it something tropical transitioning to extra-tropical over the North Atlantic afterwards?




The key issue in tropical to extratropical transition is size. Large areal extent sytems are baroclinically unstable and will induce waves on the temperature gradient which then amplify into classic midlatitude cyclones. Small areal extent systems, even intense ones will damp out when they hit temperature gradients. This is a first order simplification but often acccurate. And Colin looks weak but large area.

As to difference between subtropical and tropical. Subtropical systems get a lot of their energy from convection but are embedded in mid and low level horizontal temperature gradients and get some energy from baroclinic processes also, cold air sinking behind the system and warm air rising ahead of it reducing the total center of mass of the atmosphere with the difference converted to kinetic energy. When asking is it tropical or subtropical I look for thickness lines through it. There is often temperature gradient aloft even in the deep tropics; that's the source of most of the shear from thermal wind effects. Shear in equatorial tropics is not geostrophic and is something I've not looked into at all I'm beyond my competence level there. But tropical cyclogenisis is also rare in equatorial regions.
Quoting 521. tampahurricane:

When should us here in pinellas expect the highest winds. NWS is still calling for winds in my area 30-40 with gust to 60 MPH. Thanks in advanced
I'm not a meteorologist, but honestly I can't imagine it will get any worse than the band that just went thru. For I've 200 miles upstream there aren't any heavy bands (currently) like the one that just hit. Expect a couple more of these to develop, but I don't think it will get much worse. Our best shot for winds should be this evening if the mcs blobs up again and brings in a squall as the low pressure passes to our nw
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
just be thankful the gulf was a high shear zone things would have be very different
Invest 92E looks like a tropical cyclone much more than Colin:
Quoting 518. MIKKIPCB:





I know, it's been non stop rain here.. dumping pool so house won't flood, front yard holding water. Not happy here.. we were forecast to have only 2-3 inches woke up at three this morning and started stressing..

We are about 20 miles west of PCB and the skies are light gray already.. glad I don't have any need to head your way today!

534. ABH3
Does anyone have any thoughts about if/when flights into Tampa airport might be cancelled? I'm supposed to pick someone up at 7 pm but I can't imagine a flight will be able to get in at that point.
Quoting 515. SOHOGator:



10 knots tops in downtown tampa very disappointing performance


Better to be disappointed than destroyed
Quoting 534. ABH3:

Does anyone have any thoughts about if/when flights into Tampa airport might be cancelled? I'm supposed to pick someone up at 7 pm but I can't imagine a flight will be able to get in at that point.


Link
Tampa Intl Airport
‏@FlyTPA
Weather update: We're seeing 40 delayed flights (9 percent of flights) & 16 cancellations (4 percent). Check w/your airline if flying today.
New update from Dr. Jeff Masters now available.
Quoting 522. ronnm:

How bashed would I get on here by hypothetically stating I don't believe this has ever been a true tropical cyclone and should never have been classified as such? Not saying that, just wondering, hypothetically.


Well one would have to consider all parties involved in the classification process incompetant or in some sort of conspiracy. I can't speak for any community response of course but I consider most in the field quite capeable and devoid of conspiracy.



Many should be thankful for that upper level low.
541. vis0

apology no credits busy bathing father
92E is gonna generate copious amounts of rain in Chiapas, Oaxaca y Guerrero states (Mexico). The Conagua is warning about that now, but there's no real real fresh update yet. They set the possibility of TC formation at 20 percent though over the next 48 hours. They're getting two rounds of thunderstorms and heavy downpours from the Atl as well as the Pac in Mexico these days, with Yucatan now probably the local hotspot of severe weather.
Streets flooded in Cancun (video)
"A heavily loaded bus plows through foot-deep water in Cancun as tropical storm Colin gets its start in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico on the night of June 5, 2016. Heavy evening rain filled the streets of the popular beach resort of Cancun causing traffic delays along the hotel strand just meters from the beach."
543. SLU
Quoting 504. horseyb:



I've been to Costa Maya, Mexico twice now, where Dean made landfall. That area was just literally wiped out and hasn't come close to recovering yet. In 2014, our guide explained that the port was destroyed and after they re-built the pier, they went from having 3 cruise ships daily to 1/week. As we drove through the town, few homes remained and lots of slabs. The cruise terminal was supported by people driving 3 hours each way from Cancun with the buses in order to give the various tours. I was there again this January and 3 cruise ships were there at the same time and the cruise terminal definitely had more businesses and activity. But it will still be a lot longer until that area is even close to where it was before. It was an interesting comparison to the Biloxi area which I saw had made a lot more re-building progress in just a year after Katrina.


Thanks for sharing. Interestingly the Yucatan is perhaps the most hurricane prepared location in the whole basin. Both cat 5 Emily 2005 and cat 5 Dean 2007 made landfall there with little to no deaths.

Thanks
Quoting 509. RitaEvac:



Local news on Ch. 2 was mentioning a moisture surge from the BOC coming to TX by the weekend last week. It maybe about to become a reality


Stuck on stupid today...what is BOC?
BOC

Bay of Campeche'

547. Jawja
Quoting 417. NCHurricaneTracker69:


Ana well deserved to be named, it was a Subtropical Storm (the NHC has been naming those since 2002) and had winds in excess of 39 mph. Colin also deserved to be named, even though it's ugly AF.


Prior to giving sub-tropical storms names (in 2002?) the focus was on hurricanes. Perhaps this is useful to give early warning that a hurricane might develop. But, the "naming" seems to focus on counting these things giving them hurricane-like status they might not otherwise have.