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Tampa Bay region under Tropical Storm Warning through Monday

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

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.

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).

The storm, expected to become Tropical Storm Colin, was likely to bring dangerous rainfall levels, and residents were warned about possible flooding and hazardous driving conditions.

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 planned a briefing with state emergency management officials Sunday afternoon.

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.

Material from the Associated Press was included in this post.

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