Colin prompts closures
As Tropical Storm Colin approaches, some agencies are closing. Here is a list the Coastal Courier has received so far:
Armstrong State University
Due to severe weather warnings associated with Tropical Storm Colin, Armstrong State University(both main campus in Savannah and the Liberty Center) will close at 5 p.m. Monday.
The safety of students, faculty and staff is our top priority at Armstrong. We will continue to closely monitor developments with Tropical Storm Colin throughout the night and issue further updates if needed.
Coastal Health District
Coastal Health District officials have decided to suspend operations early at health departments and public health facilities throughout the district Monday due to inclement weather expected as a result of Tropical Storm Colin. The schedule of closures is below. All health departments will resume regular operations at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Health departments and public health facilities in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, Liberty and Long counties closed at 3 p.m. Monday.
Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield
Due to possible flooding and other dangerous conditions Tuesday due to Tropical Storm Colin, Maj. Gen. James Rainey has directed soldiers and civilian employees of Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield who are not designated key and essential not to report for work until noon Tuesday.
Liberty County School System
Due to Tropical Storm Colin, the Liberty County School System closed at 2 p.m. Monday and will remain closed through Tuesday for all employees. Any special programs, such as STEAM camps and credit recovery will be canceled Tuesday for students and employees.
Savannah Technical College
Due to inclement weather associated with Tropical Storm Colin, all Savannah Technical College campuses are closing at 5 p.m. Monday. All evening classes and activities are canceled.
Winn Army Community Hospital
The commanding general has directed soldiers and civilians to stay off the roads Tuesday morning due to the impact of Tropical Storm Colin on coastal Georgia communities. Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield soldiers and civilian employees, except key and essential personnel, must not report for work until noon Tuesday.
U.S. Army Medical Command Winn Army Community Hospital, to include the Richmond Hill Medical Home, North Clinic, Tuttle Army Health Clinic and Hawks Clinic, will reschedule Tuesday morning appointments. Services will resume at all hospitals and outlying clinics at 1 p.m., including the outpatient pharmacy located in Building 419. All staff who can safely make it to work should report to meet mission requirements. Inpatient care and afternoon appointments will not be affected. If you have an emergency, please go to the Winn Emergency Department or Urgent Care. Retroactive referrals will apply.
The storm track is expected to pass over the Georgia and South Carolina coasts Monday night and into Tuesday morning.
The primary impact will be heavy rainfall and localized flash flooding. Expect standing water on road. Avoid Highways 119 North and South and 144 East and West due to standing water.
Tropical storm-force wind gusts are possible.
Monitor the NOAA website atwww.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/index_hls3+shtml/061815.shtml for the latest updates, and other local news outlets for official storm information.
Be ready to adapt to possible changes to the forecast, and comply with your community officials' instructions in case of emergency.
11 p.m. update
Tropical Storm Colin was about to make landfall on Florida’s big bend area, about 290 miles southwest of Savannah and moving to the northeast at 23 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. update.
The storm, which is packing maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, is expected to continue to increase its forward speed as it moves over land, and is expected to pass over northern Florida and southeastern Georgia by Tuesday morning.
Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 230 miles from the center, and the estimated minimum central pressure is 1002 millibars, or 29.59 inches, according to the Hurricane Center.
The National Weather Service says Colin’s primary threat to coastal Georgia is flash flooding. A tropical storm warning extends from Sebastian Inlet, Florida, to Oregon Inlet, North Carolina. Rainfall totals of 4-8 inches are possible, with locally higher amounts. The heavy rain could lead to river flooding as early as midweek.
Tropical storm-force winds are possible, mainly in squalls, across coastal Georgia and South Carolina into Tuesday morning. Isolated tornadoes are also possible through Monday night mainly near the coast, the Weather Service says.
The beaches will continue to see rip currents and beach erosion and other life-threatening conditions through Tuesday.
The worst flooding locally appeared to be on Mary Lou Drive in Hinesville, near the YMCA of Coastal Georgia’s Liberty County/Armed Services branch.
Parents had a difficult time picking up their children from the Y because of the floodwaters.
5:45 p.m. update
Heavy rain from Tropical Storm Colin is spreading across much of Florida, southern Georgia and South Carolina, and the rain that is falling locally now is from the storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The center of Colin is about 440 miles southwest of Savannah, according to the National Weather Service’s office in Charleston, South Carolina. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and is moving to the north-northeast at 17 mph as of the Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. update.
All of the Georgia coast remains under a tropical storm warning, and the flash flood watch continues for the region. Long County also is now under a tropical storm warning.
Tropical storm-force winds are possible across the Georgia and South Carolina coasts Monday night into Tuesday morning.
Forecast rain amounts have been upgraded once again to 4-8 inches, with locally greater amounts possible.
The National Weather Service says there is increasing concern that heavy rainfall will occur around the time of high tide, which would cause significant flooding, especially in more-urbanized areas such as Charleston and Savannah. Even without heavy rainfall, the Weather Service says, high tides are expected to reach 9.6 to 9.8 feet at Fort Pulaski.
Dangerous, life-threatening conditions are expected on area beaches, including rip currents and beach erosion, Monday night through Tuesday.
Liberty County Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Hodges said in an update Monday afternoon that numerous roads may be flooded and impassable, and he reminded drivers that, “If you can see water over the road, do not attempt to drive through this water.”
He added that wind gusts of 40-50 mph are possible, which could result in minor damage to trees and power outages. There is also the chance of an isolated tornado, Hodges said.
As Tropical Storm Colin continues to churn in the Gulf of Mexico, the first bands of rain and wind are starting to reach the west coast of Florida. The storm still has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and is moving to the north-northeast at 16 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. update.
The center of Colin is about 540 miles southwest of Savannah, according to the National Weather Service’s office in Charleston, South Carolina.
Meanwhile, all of the Georgia coast is under a tropical storm warning, and the flash flood watch continues for the region. Long County continues to remain under a tropical storm watch.
Despite the upgrade from tropical storm watch to warning for coastal areas, the National Weather Service now forecasts winds of 10-20 mph with gusts to 35 mph in Liberty County as Colin passes to the south and east.
Forecast rain amounts have also been downgraded to 3-6 inches for Liberty and Long counties, with locally higher amounts possible.
7 a.m. post
Tropical Storm Colin strengthened overnight and as of the National Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. update, it was packing maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.
According to the National Weather Service, the center of Colin is about 610 miles southwest of Savannah and moving north-northeast at 14 mph.
The latest local forecast says Liberty County should see maximum sustained winds of 20-30 mph with gusts to 40 mph, but the National Weather Service urges people to be ready for the potential of winds from 39-57 mph.
The forecast also says Liberty County could see 4-8 inches of rain from Colin, with locally higher amounts possible.
Liberty and Long counties also are part of a large flash flood watch area. The flash flood watch is in effect from 8 a.m. Monday through Tuesday morning.
The Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. update shows all of coastal Georgia in the storm’s cone of uncertainty. The center of the storm is expected to pass through Camden County, or possibly Glynn County or northeast Florida, in the early morning hours Tuesday, but the feeder bands are expected to begin impacting coastal Georgia by late Monday afternoon to evening.