TS Colin not likely to become a serious threat


Forecasters keeping watch over now-Tropical Storm Colin don't see much chance that the storm will strengthen into a hurricane. And any impact on the U.S. East Coast would seem to be limited mostly to heavy surf.

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: Tropical Storm Colin has fallen apart. The National Hurricane Center is now calling it a "remnant low," that is expected to weaken in the coming days. Earlier post continues below.   

The morning line on Colin is that the storm is having considerable trouble holding itself together. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said that Colin "has a very ragged appearance this morning." The closed circulation they saw Monday seems to have broken down, and the storm is encountering some shearing winds out of the west, which are putting a drag on further strengthening.

That said, Colin (center right in the NASA photo at right) is now about 800 miles east southeast of the Leeward Islands, moving toward the west at a brisk 24 mph. Top sustained winds are around 40 mph. There are no tropical storm watches or warnings up yet anywhere. But people with interests in the Northern Leewards and the Virgin Islands have been advised to monitor the storm's progress.

The storm track posted for Colin would take it north of Puerto Rico, with a slow turn toward the northwest, and then the north. That would bring it somewhere between Bermuda and the South Carolina coast by Sunday. Some slow strengthening is expected, eventually. But, for now, the Hurricane Center does not express much confidence that the storm could become even a Cat. 1 hurricane (73 mph) before then.

If Colin does hold itself together through all this, residents and vacationers along the East Coast can probably expect to see some impact on surf conditions as the storm moves east of the beaches next week. Heavy surf and rip currents are the most likely effects.

And depending on the storm's path, they could see some clouds and showers, too. That would be a boon to Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore, which is in moderate to severe drought. That's an outcome we could root for.

Alternatively, the hurricane forecasters say, "Colin could degenerate to an open wave due to a combination of its rapid motion and westerly shear."

Here is the latest advisory on Colin. Here is the forecast storm track. And here is the view from space.

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