TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Much of Florida’s western coast was under a tropical storm warning Sunday, with the threat of heavy rains and high wind moving quickly northeast from the Gulf of Mexico.
It is the latest in a series of severe weather events across the country, from record-breaking heat in the West, flooding in Texas and storms that are expected to cause problems in the nation’s capital and mid-Atlantic region.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said a tropical depression in the southern gulf was “expected to become a tropical storm” later Sunday or early Monday. The depression was moving at a speed of about 8 mph (13 kph) and was expected to pick up the pace later Sunday.
Tropical depressions have wind speeds of less than 39 mph, while tropical storms carry wind speeds of between 39 mph (63 kph) and 73 mph (117 kph).
What was expected to become Tropical Storm Colin was likely to bring dangerous rainfall levels, and residents were warned about possible flooding and hazardous driving conditions. Rain began falling in the Tampa Bay area just past noon Sunday.
The National Weather Service in Mobile issued a flood warning for the Shoal River near Crestview and warned of possible widespread flooding in streams, creeks, and canals. Wind gusts threatened to bring down trees and branches and cause power outages.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott was flying from his home in Naples to Tallahassee to meet with emergency management officials. He postponed a political meeting with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump scheduled Monday in New York so he can remain in the state capital to monitor the weather.
Sand bags were being distributed to residents in St. Petersburg, Tampa and nearby cities.
“We’re surrounded on three sides by water,” said Pinellas County spokesman Nick Zoller, who said the county distributed 3,300 sand bags on Saturday, a number he expected to go up now that a tropical storm warning is in effect.
Just to the north, Pasco County Emergency Services Director Kevin Guthrie said the message is to be prepared.
“We are going to flood in parts of Pasco County,” Guthrie said in an email.
Fort Hood officials have identified the last of nine soldiers who died in Texas floodwaters during a training exercise as a 25-year-old Army specialist from California.
Army officials on Sunday said Spc. Yingming Sun enlisted in 2013 and first arrived at Fort Hood nearly two years ago. He and eight others who were previously identified died when fast-moving waters washed a 2 ½-ton vehicle from a low-water crossing Thursday.
Three others soldiers survived and have returned to duty.
Heavy and persistent storms the past two weeks have dumped more than a foot of rain in parts of Texas. The rain is expected to diminish this week and dry out areas such as Southeast Texas, where officials gave evacuation order to about 2,000 homes.
TAKING AIM AT THE NATION’S CAPITAL
The National Weather Service is warning of an “enhanced” risk of severe storms in the mid-Atlantic region with the possibility of damaging winds.
Sterling, Virginia-based meteorologist Chris Strong says the primary threat in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area is from damaging wind gusts, and there’s a lesser threat for tornadoes.
Wakefield, Virginia-based meteorologist Lyle Alexander says the threat on the Eastern Shore is from winds and more localized heavy rain.
The weather service warns that heavy rain in central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley could mean flooding in areas that received rain Saturday. Flash flood watches are in effect until evening.
Mount Holly, New Jersey-based meteorologist Lance Franck says in Delaware the threat is from high winds and torrential downpours bringing flooding to urban areas and areas with poor drainage.
In New York City, the last day of a music festival that was to include performances by Kanye West and Death Cab for Cutie was canceled because of weather concerns.
The National Weather Service said if Phoenix hits 114 degrees on Sunday, it will mark the third day in a row setting record high temperatures in Arizona’s Urban Heart.
Much of Southern Arizona, from Phoenix to Nogales, is under an excessive heat warning.
Other western and southwestern U.S. states are experiencing above-normal temperatures in the triple-digits.
Officials are warning residents to stay hydrated and avoid the outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when temperatures are highest.