Tropical Storm Colin: Schools delayed as heavy rain stays off the coast

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Carolina Beach officials are working today to ensure the town's lake will not overflow onto roadways during Tropical Storm Colin as it did during a similar event in October. Forecasters believe the coming storm could bring heavy rainfall and possible flooding to coastal areas. File photo.
Carolina Beach officials are working today to ensure the town’s lake will not overflow onto roadways during Tropical Storm Colin as it did during a similar event in October. Forecasters believe the coming storm could bring heavy rainfall and possible flooding to coastal areas. File photo.

Forecasters have canceled the flash flood watch as of 6 a.m., while Tropical Storm Colin continues its anticipated path up the east coast from Florida.

Due to the threat of heavy rain, flooding and high winds, New Hanover, Brunswick County and Pender public schools announced late Monday night they’d operate on a two-hour delay Tuesday. Brunswick Community College also opened on a two-hour delay.

When the storm system neared Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Monday afternoon, meteorologists with the National Weather Service (NWS) expanded an existing coastal flash flood watch to affected counties in South Carolina, as well as New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Bladen, Robeson and Columbus counties. The watch was in effect for about 10 hours before being lifted.

An earlier tropical storm warning has also been canceled for coastal waters in the area, stretching up to Surf City. NWS had earlier projected Tropical Storm Colin to bring heavy rainfall – as much as seven inches along the coast and three to five inland – between Monday night and Tuesday morning, but those amounts didn’t materialize when the storm stayed slightly off the coast. Tuesday morning’s NWS briefing predicts about an inch more rain will fall today along the coast, and half as much inland.

Although the tropical storm warning has been lifted, forecasters are saying there’s a high risk for rip currents today along local beaches.

That rain, however, did bring with it the risk of coastal flooding due to “astronomical” high tides, according to the latest update from NWS. Rivers will likely rise but aren’t expected to spill over.

But to avoid the risk of blocked roadways, the Town of Carolina Beach announced Monday it was already pumping down Carolina Beach Lake and other town stormwater ponds ahead of the bad weather this evening.

In a release, town manager Michael Cramer urged motorists to avoid trying to traverse flooded streets, and said drivers should anticipate limited access to or closure of Canal Drive and Freeman Park.

As of 3 p.m. Monday, Colin was delivering maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour near the SC/NC border. NWS warns of dangerous rip currents as the storm progresses but does not consider tornadoes to be a significant risk.

Brunswick County government offices announced Monday night they’d delay opening until 10:30 a.m. Tuesday on account of the storm. While government offices will open late, the primary election scheduled for Tuesday will go on as scheduled, with polls be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Brunswick Senior Resources, Inc. will open at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

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