Florida issues emergency declaration ahead of Tropical Storm Colin
TALLAHASSEE - Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in 34 Florida counties as Tropical Strom Colin approaches the state from the Gulf of Mexico.
Scott signed the order Monday morning.
A large swath of Florida is under a tropical storm warning. The counties included in the governor's declaration include the Tampa Bay region, much of the Panhandle, central Florida and the counties along the Atlantic beaches in northeast Florida.
Heavy rain is expected, and many coastal communities are providing sandbags for residents in low-lying areas prone to flooding.
Daniel Brown, a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, says strong wind shear and the system's poor organization make it unlikely that Colin will strengthen before reaching Florida's coastline.
The Florida Highway Patrol has closed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to traffic due to high winds from Tropical Storm Colin.
The bridge, which spans Tampa Bay between Pinellas and Manatee counties, was shut down Monday. It's unknown when it will reopen.