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Tropical Storm Colin heads near Florida’s Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Colin is expected to bring heavy rains, potential coastal flooding and a tornado threat to central Florida this evening.

Tropical Storm Colin is expected to bring heavy rains, potential coastal flooding and a tornado threat to central Florida this evening.

The storm could cause as much as 8 inches of rain in some areas when it hits Florida’s Gulf Coast tonight.

After forming in the Gulf of Mexico last week, Colin now has sustained winds close to 50 mph and could strengthen, the National Hurricane Center said in an update this morning. Tropical storm-force winds extend for 185 miles from Colin's center.

The hurricane center predicts that if the storm arrives with high tide, the surge could be 1 to 3 feet in the area from Indian Pass to Tampa Bay and 1 to 2 feet from Tampa Bay south to Florida Bay, according to National Public Radio.

Forecasters expect Colin to make landfall this evening near the Big Bend and Panhandle area. It should then move across north Florida toward Jacksonville and into southeastern Georgia by Tuesday morning, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Colin is not expected to directly hit central Florida, but forecasters say the outer bands will bring heavy rain, wind gusts and a moderate risk of tornadoes, the newspaper said. Most of Central Florida is under a tropical storm warning.

There’s a flood watch in effect for large swaths of Florida and a moderate risk of a tornado, according to FloridaStorms.org.

Click here to follow the storm on Facebook.

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