FORT MYERS, Fla. – Colin, the earliest third tropical storm to form in the Atlantic basin, moved over Florida quickly, lost momentum then became a post-tropical cyclone late Tuesday morning.
Post Tropical Colin was centered just southeast of the coast of North Carolina at 5 p.m. on Tuesday after making landfall at the Big Bend around 10 p.m. Monday.
But that’s not to say the storm did not disturb weather in Southwest Florida.
After experiencing rain throughout much of early evening Monday, Southwest Florida saw some sun and scattered showers Tuesday. A flood watch remains in effect for Lee and Charlotte counties until 8 p.m. Tuesday, though the region didn’t get a direct impact from Colin as the storm made landfall well to the north.
“We are going to have some impact from the storm, but it is not going to be significant,” Devitt said.
Parts of Southwest Florida felt the effects of Colin, evidenced by flooding, erosion and high tide.
In Cape Coral, tide never receded to normal levels after Colin passed. Canal waters nearly came over docks in the area.
The same was true on the Caloosahatchee River in North Fort Myers, where Lou Marton captured video of flooding. He said he was confused by what he was seeing.
“That’s the most water I’ve seen since Hurricane Charlie and I couldn’t figure that out because it wasn’t like a hurricane at all. It was just a bad storm,” he said.
A property owner in Manasota Key expressed similar concern after a beach deck was transformed into a pile of mangled wood and rubble. Pat Roche said she is worried the damage could be indicative of future challenges this hurricane season, which just began June 1.
“If that was just a mild tropical storm, I’m not sure I want to see what a real hurricane can do,” she said.
On Sanibel, beachgoers became concerned when the shore shrunk to three feet during high tide while photos from Punta Gorda show significant flooding.
A tornado warning issued for southwestern DeSoto County and parts of Charlotte County until 5 p.m. Monday was canceled as the storm that prompted the warning weakened below severe, the National Weather Service said.
A similar warning for east central Lee County was cancelled shortly before 4:30 p.m. Monday.
Naples, Bonita Shores and Pelican Bay were under a tornado warning until 3:15 p.m. Monday.
“We have some lift (in the atmosphere), and then once that air lifts, winds are stronger than normal and that tends to cause our air to twist and spin, so there is a slight chance of a tornado or two as we head throughout the morning and into the afternoon and evening,” WINK News meteorologist Matt Devitt said of Monday’s weather.
Most of the severe weather activity was off shore as of 6 a.m. Monday morning, but areas including Englewood, Cape Coral and Pine Island were experiencing heavy rain around that time.
Winds gusts were expected to reach up to 40 mph during the day Monday, when rainfall totals approached 3 inches. Isolated tornadoes are possible as temperatures are expected to reach 85 degrees.
Track TS Colin and other storm developments on the WINK News Hurricane Central page.
The State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee was activated to level two – its second highest level – on Sunday in anticipation of the potential severe weather.
The Florida National Guard was activated and had more than 6,000 Guardsmen ready for deployment if necessary, according to Gov. Rick Scott’s office.
Charlotte County schools canceled all student activities and summer camps on Monday. Lee County schools also canceled all outdoor activities Monday.
In Naples, the harbor master closed the Naples Pier early Monday afternoon for safety reasons.
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.