Tropical Storm Colin creates severe weather potential Monday, Tuesday

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A tropical depression forming off the Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday could potentially bring severe weather to Southwest Florida on Monday and Tuesday.

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A tropical depression forming off the Yucatan Peninsula was upgraded to Tropical Storm Colin shortly before 6 p.m., according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm could potentially start the Southwest Florida work week with severe weather.

“While it is too early to know the exact strength and eventual track of this system, heavy rains and gusty winds are likely to impact portions of our area Monday into Tuesday,” the National Weather Service said. “River and small stream flooding is possible. Waterspouts and isolated tornadoes may accompany some of the rain bands.”

The system is expected to reach the region either Monday afternoon or evening, but areas between Englewood and Indian Pass are currently under a tropical storm warning.

“Even if it doesn’t develop that much, even if it’s just a lot of moisture headed our way, we’re still going to see a lot of rain with this, a lot of wind,” WINK Meteorologist Mary Mays said.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee was activated to level two – it’s second highest level – on Sunday in anticipation of this week’s potential severe weather.

Charlotte County School Superintendent Steve Dionisio responded to the weather warnings by canceling all student activities and summer camps scheduled for Monday. Students in the county have already finished their classes for the school year. Lee County schools will be open Monday, according to district officials.

Scattered to numerous thunderstorms are expected Sunday afternoon and evening, including storms capable of producing strong gusty winds, according to the National Weather Service. Frequent deadly lighting strikes are also expected, the agency said.

AAA issued a warning to motorists, asking them to be careful as driving conditions are expected to worsen. Wet pavement is a factor in nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes annually, according to national statistics. AAA advises drivers to check their tires, slow down, avoid tailing other vehicles, using cruise control and driving through standing water.

The U.S. Coast Guard similarly warned boaters to stay out of the water Sunday as rain, waves and high winds could impact the Gulf of Mexico. Advice from the Coast Guard also included safely securing vessels as soon as possible. A deputy response chief for the Coast Guard said heeding warnings is important because weather could delay search efforts.

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