Tropical Storm Debby has formed in the Gulf of Mexico

By: angelafritz , 9:18 PM GMT on June 23, 2012

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Tropical Storm Debby has been named by the National Hurricane Center this afternoon after hurricane hunters investigated Invest 96L and found a solid closed circulation, with maximum winds of 50mph and gusts up to 65mph. All interests along the Gulf of Mexico coast should pay attention to the progress of Debby. Debby is drifting north at 5mph. The storm has brought heavy rains to Western Cuba, South Florida, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula over the past two days, but the disturbance's heaviest rains are located well offshore over the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, where heavy thunderstorms are generating winds near tropical storm-force. A buoy 243 miles west of Naples, FL measured sustained winds of 31 mph, gusting to 38 mph, with 10-foot waves, at 8 am EDT Saturday morning. Our Wundermap for the surrounding ocean areas shows a large region of the northern and eastern Gulf of Mexico is experiencing winds of 20 - 30 mph.

Visible satellite loops show an unorganized tropical cyclone with an obvious surface circulation, though the thunderstorm activity is well displaced to the east. The heavy thunderstorm activity is slowly expanding and growing more intense. Upper-level winds out of the west continue to create moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear over the region, though that is expected to increase over the next few days. Water vapor satellite loops show a region of dry air over the central Gulf of Mexico, which will continue to interfere with Debby's development and make it hard for the west side of the circulation to maintain heavy thunderstorms. Ocean temperatures are about 28.5°C (83°F) in the Central Gulf of Mexico, which is about 1°F above average.


Figure 1. Saturday afternoon satellite image of Tropical Storm Debby in the Gulf of Mexico.


Figure 2. Saturday afternoon forecast track for Tropical Storm Debby.

Forecast for Debby
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting Debby to remain a tropical cyclone over the next 5 days as it drifts north and then west toward Texas. The Hurricane Center is forecasting a very slow progression of the storm, with a potential landfall not occurring until Friday. However, most of the models that predict the turn to the west suggest landfall will happen before or around Wednesday. The models are still generally split on the forecast for Debby; by Monday, the majority of the reliable models, including the ECMWF, NOGAPS, HWRF, and UKMET, agree that a ridge of high pressure will build in over the Southern U.S., forcing Debby west across the Gulf of Mexico and into South Texas by Wednesday. However, the GFS model, which has been our 2nd most reliable track model over the past two years (behind the ECMWF), has consistently been predicting that a trough of low pressure pushing off of the U.S. East Coast will be capable of grabbing the disturbance and accelerating it to the northeast across Florida north of Tampa Bay on Monday. The GFDL model splits the difference between these extremes and takes Debby north to a landfall near the Alabama/Florida border on Tuesday. The predicted track west to Texas is still the most likely outcome, though it remains a low-confidence forecast. In terms of intensity, none of the models is predicting Debby will become a hurricane, nor is the Hurricane Center. Though sea surface temperature is warm (and around 1°F above average), the actual heat content of the Gulf is relatively low. Wind shear is predicted to remain moderately strong through Sunday, but will increase to 30+ knots by Tuesday.

Debby's place in history (by Jeff Masters)
Remarkably, Debby's formation on June 23 comes a full two months ahead of the usual formation date of the season's fourth storm in the Atlantic, August 23. Debby's formation beats by twelve days the previous record for formation of the fourth named storm of the year in the Atlantic, set in 2005, when Hurricane Dennis was named on July 5. An early start to the Atlantic hurricane season has been increasingly common in recent years. In 2008, I blogged about the research of Dr. Jim Kossin of the University of Wisconsin, who published a 2008 paper in Geophysical Research Letters, titled "Is the North Atlantic hurricane season getting longer?" He concluded that yes, there is a "apparent tendency toward more common early- and late-season storms that correlates with warming Sea Surface Temperature but the uncertainty in these relationships is high". Three out of four of this year's early quartet of storms--Alberto, Beryl, and Debby--formed in ocean areas that were more than 1°F above average, which is an unusually high amount of warmth. We should expect to see more early-season Atlantic tropical storms as a consequence of global warming, since cool ocean temperatures are a key impediment to formation of such storms. However, this assumes that factors such as wind shear and atmospheric stability won't grow more hostile for tropical cyclone formation during the early part of hurricane season, and this is uncertain. If we do end up seeing a substantial increase in early-season tropical storms as a consequence of global warming, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Early-season tropical storms are often more boon than bane, bringing much-needed drought-busting rains, like Tropical Storm Beryl did for North Florida last month. With drought frequency and intensity predicted to increase for much of the Gulf Coastal states in coming decades, an increase in rainfall from early-season tropical storms may do more good than the damages inflicted by the high winds and flooding these storms may bring. There is typically a lot of wind shear around in May, June, and July, making it difficult for early season storms to reach major hurricane status. According to Wunderground's list of major early-season hurricanes, since record keeping began in 1851, there has been only one major hurricane in May, two in June, and nine in July. Three of these occurred in the past ten years, so there has not as yet been a large increase in early-season major hurricanes due to global warming.

References
Kossin, J., 2008, "Is the North Atlantic hurricane season getting longer?", Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 35, L23705, doi:10.1029/2008GL036012, 2008.

Angela and Jeff

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2286. Grothar
Quoting Articuno:

I understand Gro, it's hard. :)



Thanks Art. Now you want to help me put out the garbage cans. LOL
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2285. LargoFl
Quoting Grothar:
We just got pounded by a bad one in Fort Lauderdale. Lools like you guys on the west coast are getting hammered. how is it there Largo??

just went outside, windy and rain,looked down the street, branch pieces all over the street, but all in all not too bad so far, im only 3 miles or so from the coastline..watching out for tornado's today
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Quoting Jedkins01:


That's what I was saying, they normally always do in these situations. Weird.

They have a Facebook page and email lol maybe I should ask...
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Quoting emguy:


The dabate here was that the reliable EURO broke rank. Originally, the GFS and the EURO had this hitting Florida. GFS stuck with it, stuck with it, stuck with it. EURO bent and went to Texas, then after many many runs, bent and went to New Orleans. All other models are east of it NOW...less the HWRF..So they all joined an eastern half of Gulf idea. Point being, in the battle of the reliables...well the case is closed. Texas option is gone now. Besides...it would just about have to go through all of coastal Louisiana just to have a shot at getting to Texas now anyway. It's too far north to consider Texas any more.


I know it's your opinion but I am not sure how you can say "Texas option is gone now" and that "it's too far north to consider Texas anymore". Just a ridiculous comment. But your entitled to it.
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Quoting Articuno:
Magnitude 3.4 earthquake,
S. Texas near Corpus Christi



Wow. Is this normal for there? I know there was a 5.0 in the GOM east of STX when Rita was coming ashore. Is there a fault there? Never did figure out why they had the quakes in ETX couple months ago. Anyway, interesting thanks. :)
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2280. LargoFl
Quoting islander101010:
fl.getting.it.now.what.if.the.gfs.is.right.major. pr oblems.ahead
yes gfs has said all along where debby was going to go,its best to prepare just in case its right
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2279. Grothar
We just got pounded by a bad one in Fort Lauderdale. Lools like you guys on the west coast are getting hammered. how is it there Largo??

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Quoting mfcmom:
Good morning all. Here in Panama City just woke up and boy is it getting nasty out here. Don't know that much about forecasting but want to thank you all I follow you all and your good works to help protect my family.


Things are about to go downhill very quickly in your area. Radar shows a heavy band very close by and moving in quickly
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Quoting TampaFLUSA:
Will NWS Ruskin put radar mode to tropical ZR relationship? I wonder if anyone close to them can ask because I would sure like to know true rainfall totals.


That's what I was saying, they normally always do in these situations. Weird.
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fl.getting.it.now.what.if.the.gfs.is.right.major.pr oblems.ahead
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Quoting Grothar:
http://i.imgur.com/gtebN.gif

I understand Gro, it's hard. :)
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Quoting WxLogic:
Current upper air observations are as follows:

The 300MB image below you can see the upper TROF digging ESE/SE which is preventing the Central CONUS high from making to much progress to the E and you can see via the red circle the ULL shearing Debby:



Since Debby is on the NE quadrant of this ULL then upper level divergence is typically optimal and can provide an environment good for strengthening.

In the image below is the 500MB analysis... you can see that the C CONUS is not well established across the SE US and its orientation is not favorable for an immediate W track for the time being.



In summary I expect Debby to meander in the COL region until it takes advantage of the weakness to it's NE or get caught by the High it it's able to build E. Like I've mentioned before, I'm not buying into the High being able to extend E fully to cause a W movement which is why I incline to the solution GFS have been depicting for a long time.



Good analysis, maybe I shouldn't have been so timid with my intensity forecast for Debby though, seems like shes getting her act together quite well now.
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2272. mfcmom
Good morning all. Here in Panama City just woke up and boy is it getting nasty out here. Don't know that much about forecasting but want to thank you all I follow you all and your good works to help protect my family.
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2271. Grothar
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2270. LargoFl
Hydrologic Outlook

------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------
HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK
FLC011-021-043-051-086-087-099-241200-

HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
733 AM EDT SAT JUN 23 2012

...LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL POSSIBLE THROUGH SUNDAY NIGHT...

LOW PRESSURE WILL SLOWLY MOVE NORTH OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO THIS
WEEKEND. THIS FEATURE WILL TRANSPORT DEEP TROPICAL MOISTURE INTO
SOUTH FLORIDA THROUGH AT LEAST SUNDAY NIGHT WITH PERIODS OF HEAVY
RAINFALL POSSIBLE.

ADDITIONAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING WILL LIKELY
RANGE FROM 1 TO 3 INCHES ALONG THE EAST COAST AND FROM 2 TO 4
INCHES ALONG THE WEST COAST. AS TYPICALLY OBSERVED DURING THESE
EVENTS, LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS ARE POSSIBLE SINCE PERSISTENT
BANDS OF HEAVY RAINFALL MAY IMPACT A FEW AREAS.

PLEASE CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS AND STATEMENTS
THROUGH THE WEEKEND. A FLOOD WATCH COULD BECOME NECESSARY FOR
PORTIONS OF THE REGION.
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Quoting PensacolaBuoy:
Why would recon's flight level winds be so low (5-25 mph) while SFMR surface readings are 40-60 mph at same time? Isn't this the opposite of normal?


Seems nothing about this storm is normal so far....
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2268. LargoFl
Quoting TampaBayStormChaser:
Current Winds SE 30 Gusts 36 MPH at St. Petersburg Airport...
oh boy, thanks for that warning, going to be an interesting day or two here
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2267. Skyepony (Mod)
Recon is settling in around 4,900'. A few uncontaminated SFMR surface wind reading say higher surface (66mph) to lower flight winds (43mph)..have to see if this trend holds.
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Why would recon's flight level winds be so low (5-25 mph) while SFMR surface readings are 40-60 mph at same time? Isn't this the opposite of normal?
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2265. Grothar
I see most of the models have shifted a little to the North and to the right.
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Will NWS Ruskin put radar mode to tropical ZR relationship? I wonder if anyone close to them can ask because I would sure like to know true rainfall totals.
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2263. WxLogic
Current upper air observations are as follows:

The 300MB image below you can see the upper TROF digging ESE/SE which is preventing the Central CONUS high from making to much progress to the E and you can see via the red circle the ULL shearing Debby:



Since Debby is on the NE quadrant of this ULL then upper level divergence is typically optimal and can provide an environment good for strengthening.

In the image below is the 500MB analysis... you can see that the C CONUS is not well established across the SE US and its orientation is not favorable for an immediate W track for the time being.



In summary I expect Debby to meander in the COL region until it takes advantage of the weakness to it's NE or get caught by the High it it's able to build E. Like I've mentioned before, I'm not buying into the High being able to extend E fully to cause a W movement which is why I incline to the solution GFS have been depicting for a long time.
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2261. Skyepony (Mod)
TRMM caught Debbie in the night.. Lot of rain & a few hot towers in there. Click on pic for a really large quicktime movie of it..
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Good morning all,
I see Debby is now got her center wrapped around all the convection and it has finally consolidated.
This storm is a huge flood threat that even when it goes to Texas we may see some of it's convection all the way in FL.
This storm is odd, but Debby does what floats her boat.
I think its safe to say this will make it to a hurricane, no matter how beautiful or ugly it is.
And I see that Recon is flying in.
Debby may strengthen farther then forecast because of the warm "rocket fuel" in the GOM.

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Quoting LargoFl:
right now im getting a bit worried about any tornado's that might spring up, winds here by me now are gusting pretty good,fingers crossed they dont spring up here



Yeah, check this out, the potential is there you are right:








Yeah, the tornado potential is certainly there. I've seen us get tornado watch boxes with quite a bit lower shear taking place than this.
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2256. LargoFl
Quoting Jedkins01:


I really was surprised to wake to this amount of wind honestly, with daytime heating the wind could increase as well, because you get mixing with daytime heating, allowing some elevated stronger gusts to be brought down, especially in convective rains.
yeah local mets were saying that yesterday, its going to be an interesting day here for sure huh
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Quoting Skyepony:
NASA's Geos-5 has it pretty much meander in the same area, just stronger by Thursday. This model is still running it's 00Z run, kinda waits to make sure it starts in the right place.. It's up to 120hrs, where is moving west..





Wow. It would be averaging about 2 or 3 mph the whole time in order for that track to verify.
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Be careful Floridians! Regardless of what the NHC says... some of you are going to be getting some TS-like weather today, maybe very soon (if not already! Turn around, don't drown!
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2253. LargoFl
Here are the latest warnings for our area....HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY RUSKIN FL
550 AM EDT SUN JUN 24 2012

FLZ039-042-043-048>052-055>057-060>062-065-GMZ830 -850-853-856-870-
873-876-242200-
LEVY-CITRUS-SUMTER-HERNANDO-PASCO-PINELLAS-HILLSB OROUGH-POLK-
MANATEE-HARDEE-HIGHLANDS-SARASOTA-DESOTO-CHARLOTT E-LEE-
TAMPA BAY WATERS-TARPON SPRINGS TO SUWANNEE RIVER OUT 20 NM-
ENGLEWOOD TO TARPON SPRINGS OUT 20 NM-
BONITA BEACH TO ENGLEWOOD OUT 20 NM-
TARPON SPRINGS TO SUWANNEE RIVER OUT 20 TO 60 NM-
ENGLEWOOD TO TARPON SPRINGS OUT 20 TO 60 NM-
BONITA BEACH TO ENGLEWOOD OUT 20 TO 60 NM-
550 AM EDT SUN JUN 24 2012

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST
FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

TROPICAL STORM DEBBY OVER THE NORTH-CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO WILL
CONTINUE DRIFTING NORTH TODAY...THEN TURN TOWARD THE WEST ON
MONDAY. THIS WILL BRING A MYRIAD OF HAZARDS TO OUR REGION OVER THE
NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.

...THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
WIDESPREAD SHOWERS WITH EMBEDDED THUNDERSTORMS WILL CONTINUE
ACROSS THE REGION TODAY. THE MAIN THREAT FROM STORMS WILL BE
WATERSPOUTS AND THE POSSIBILITY OF TORNADOES.

...FLOOD IMPACT...
BOTH RIVER AND URBAN FLOODING ARE POSSIBLE TODAY AS HEAVY RAIN
AFFECTS THE REGION. WIDESPREAD FLOODING IS NOT EXPECTED.

...COASTAL FLOOD IMPACT...
MODERATE COASTAL FLOODING AT TIMES OF HIGH TIDES IS EXPECTED OVER
PORTIONS OF THE NATURE COAST. MINOR FLOODING COULD OCCUR ELSEWHERE
DURING HIGH TIDES.

...RIP CURRENT IMPACT...
THERE IS A HIGH RISK OF DANGEROUS RIP CURRENTS TODAY AND TONIGHT.

...WATERSPOUT IMPACT...
WATERSPOUTS ARE LIKELY IN THE OUTER RAIN BANDS ASSOCIATED WITH
TROPICAL STORM DEBBY TODAY AND TONIGHT.

...WIND AND SEA IMPACT...
NORTH OF ENGLEWOOD AND BEYOND 20 MILES FROM THE COAST...TROPICAL
STORM FORCE WINDS ARE LIKELY WITH SEAS UP TO 15 FEET. ELSEWHERE
WINDS WILL BE 20 TO 25 KNOTS WITH GUSTS NEAR GALE FORCE...
ESPECIALLY IN SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY.

HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH TROPICAL STORM DEBBY WILL CONTINUE THROUGH
MONDAY...THEN CONDITIONS WILL SLOWLY IMPROVE AS DEBBY MOVES
WESTWARD AWAY FROM THE AREA TOWARD MID-WEEK.

...THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
THE THREAT FOR ISOLATED TORNADOES IN THUNDERSTORMS MAY CONTINUE ON
MONDAY...THEN WE WILL TRANSITION BACK TO A MORE TYPICAL REGIME OF
AFTERNOON THUNDERSTORMS EACH DAY.

...FLOOD IMPACT...
SOME RIVER AND URBAN FLOODING WILL BE POSSIBLE...ESPECIALLY MONDAY
AND TUESDAY.

...COASTAL FLOOD IMPACT...
MODERATE COASTAL FLOODING WILL CONTINUE OVER THE NATURE COAST
DURING HIGH TIDES ON MONDAY. MINOR COASTAL FLOODING COULD OCCUR
ELSEWHERE. WATER LEVELS SHOULD BEGIN TO SUBSIDE BY TUESDAY.

...RIP CURRENT IMPACT...
STRONG RIP CURRENTS WILL PERSIST FOR SEVERAL DAYS AS LARGE OCEAN
SWELLS GENERATED BY DEBBY MOVE TOWARD THE GULF COAST.

...WIND AND SEA IMPACT...
WINDS AND SEAS SHOULD SUBSIDE BELOW TROPICAL STORM FORCE BY MONDAY
AFTERNOON...BUT REMAIN AT SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY LEVELS THROUGH AT
LEAST MID-WEEK.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION WILL NOT BE NEEDED TODAY.

$$

JILLSON
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Quoting LargoFl:
thanks and good morning
Your welcome and good morning :)
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Quoting LargoFl:
yes i think warnings should come for florida now, maybe they will as they get the new data from the planes going out there now,tampa nws says a new update comes at 11am..we'll see


I really was surprised to wake to this amount of wind honestly, with daytime heating the wind could increase as well, because you get mixing with daytime heating, allowing some elevated stronger gusts to be brought down, especially in convective rains.
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2250. LargoFl
Quoting masonsnana:
The conditions here are the same Largo. That is my fear also. BTW, I want to thank you for posting the important maps.
thanks and good morning
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Issued by The National Weather Service
Tallahassee, FL
5:15 am EDT, Sun., Jun. 24, 2012

... A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE OFFSHORE LEGS OF OUR COASTAL WATERS FROM 20 TO 60 NM...

... WINDS AND SEAS... AS TROPICAL STORM DEBBY CONTINUES TO DEVELOP... THE THREAT FOR SUSTAINED HIGH WINDS MAY INCREASE SOON. THE LATEST AREA FORECAST IS FOR MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS OF 35 KNOTS WITH GUSTS TO 45 KNOTS. SINCE THERE IS STILL UNCERTAINTY... CLOSELY MONITOR THE FORECAST FOR ANY SIGNIFICANT CHANGES. SEAS MAY BUILD AS HIGH AS 15 TO 17 FEET... ESPECIALLY WELL OFFSHORE.

more warnings for florida here Link
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Quoting LargoFl:
right now im getting a bit worried about any tornado's that might spring up, winds here by me now are gusting pretty good,fingers crossed they dont spring up here
The conditions here are the same Largo. That is my fear also. BTW, I want to thank you for posting the important maps.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Already almost hit the center...looks like the center could be almost due south of Pensacola/Destin, FL area.



The center is further south then it might appear on radar, it seems it is stationary, with maybe a slow drift in God only knows what direction. All I know is, those stronger convective bands in the eastern gulf could easily put down 3 to 5 inches all up and down the west coast of Florida on top of saturated grounds, canoes might have to be brought out in the low lying areas prone to flooding later on. I don't know why the NWS in Ruskin hasn't switched the radar mode to tropical ZR relationship yet, rainfall estimates are made 25% of actually rainfall that is occurring so far. They usually do switch over to it during tropical events as it helps the radar estimates be more on cue with intense tropical rains. Even these stratiform rains are heavier than in a traditional setup. Radar thinks I'm jut now cracking a half inch when I've had over 2 inches now.
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55mph winds from recon.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7839
2245. Skyepony (Mod)
Looks like recon is descending. Down to ~10,000'.
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2244. LargoFl
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Quoting LargoFl:
i remember yesterday..the GFS had it coming INTO tampa...watching this one closely today, i dont trust debby at all

She's really shown how helpless we are when it comes to forecasting tropical systems... Just when we thought we had it nailed down, everything (potentially) changes. And who knows what kind of tricks she has up her sleeve for intensity...
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7839
2242. WxLogic
HH is closing in.
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2241. Skyepony (Mod)
NASA's Geos-5 has it pretty much meander in the same area, just stronger by Thursday. This model is still running it's 00Z run, kinda waits to make sure it starts in the right place.. It's up to 120hrs, where is moving west..


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2240. LargoFl
Quoting MississippiWx:
Wow...

i remember yesterday..the GFS had it coming INTO tampa...watching this one closely today, i dont trust debby at all
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2239. LargoFl
Quoting Jedkins01:


Heck there needs to be a tropical storm warning soon even down to the Central Florida coast if this thing does turn right, we are getting gusts of 30 to 40 mph and they are offshore winds! If debbie intensifies and moves into say the big bend, those winds become onshore winds here, and those heavier bands move in? Yeah, we could see tropical storm conditions. Am I worried? no, it will just add some excitement to the mix if it happens, but we've been through countless T.S. force wind events. That Tampa Bay area might not get hardly and direct hit but we get a lot of system give us a lot of effects from them.
right now im getting a bit worried about any tornado's that might spring up, winds here by me now are gusting pretty good,fingers crossed they dont spring up here
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Wow...

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Don't worry guys I know where Debby is headed she's going...

(refers to models)





to um well uh sorry guys I got nothing =/

In all seriousness I think we should wait a bit more almost everytime a system goes stationary it takes a while for the computer models to get a grasp. At this point I still think it could go anywhere'sville leaning towards the west side of this mess. Unless someone's got the new models for us to see?
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Already almost hit the center...looks like the center could be almost due south of Pensacola/Destin, FL area.


They've already found 40mph winds.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7839

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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