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Submitted by Tim Buckley on Wed, 08/04/2010 - 8:14am.
Just as quickly as he came, he's vanished. Tropical Storm Colin had a less than impressive 12 hour run as a named storm, topping out with maximum winds around 40 mph - just barely above the 39 mph threshold needed for a tropical storm.
But just what caused the storm to deteriorate so quickly? It turns out the fast speed of the storm and interaction with fairly hefty vertical wind shear were just the ingredients needed to tear the storm apart. Tropical systems typically have a slower face, allowing their tall thunderstorms to move at a gradual pace across the ocean - letting them develop to their full potential. These storms are fragile, and need winds to vary as little as possible throughout their nearly 50,000 ft high columns. In other words, storms need low wind shear.
With Colin, the system had a fast forward motion of about 25 mph to the west at the surface. These low level easterlies came into contact with some upper level westerlies - pushing the tall columns of thunderstorms in different directions, killing the storms organization and circulation.
And so, we say goodbye to Colin - although his effects may not go unseen on our shores. Higher surf and higher rip current risks are likely this weekend as what's left of the storm passes between North Carolina and Bermuda.
The bigger story on this day should certainly be the heat and humidity, which will again combine to make sweltering conditions across the area. Heat index values well over 100 should be common this afternoon through the rest of the week.
Take it easy outside!
By: Tim Buckley