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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2736. Drakoen
Quoting weathermanwannabe:


I am near Bradfordville......Just rain all day and some power outages. But, beware of falling trees and branches and park your cars and boats accordingly.


I've found that the sewage/drainage system here in Tallahassee is terrible. It is easy for just afternoon thunderstorms to leave some places flooded.
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2735. barbamz
Recon just shows on google earth: moving directon of the COC to the northeast.
Greetings from Germany to all!
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
On long range radar, the leading edge of the rotation is slowly headed towards the West due South of Mobile. I cannot tell if that is actual motion of the COC or just expanding band coverage on the western flank.


The storm is wrapping up, meaning more rain for LA and Mississippi , the COC is still moving extremely slowly NNE.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
So I get up to an organizing system that's following the GFS? Well, that's half of what I expected!
Next thing you know it will be back to Texas.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3841
IMO, the cone will move more toward the central gulf..

then if trends continue, they will move it to florida on the 5PM advisory...


will we know for certain by monday afternoon where this thing is going?
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Bay News 9 model still has Debby out in the middle of the GOM by Wed. doing a loop.



Animation
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting BahaHurican:
IMO this is the big story with Debby for today... and also IMO worst effects from Debby are likely to come in the areas where storms train for 24 hours.

Such a great way to spend a Sunday.... :o)
That training of rain is gonna fall on the SW coast...it is still pouring here and NO way is it gonna stop any time soon. Inland flooding is gonna be a problem in a day or two for sure.
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2729. LargoFl
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Quoting TampaSpin:
I see the NHC did not move much from their forecast track.....they are really sticking their necks out on this one unless they are correct. I knew they would never move that track much and would do so in small amounts!

Makes it look like they blew it less than they did, lol.
Also keeps open the possibility of a shift back west.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7601
Quoting mahep1911:
Hello all I live in Tallahassee florida and looks like we are in for a bumpy ride here any idea what we can expect


I am near Bradfordville......Just rain all day and some power outages. But, beware of falling trees and branches and park your cars and boats accordingly.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8764
IF the storm continues to strengthen, and
IF the storm stays large and broad, and
IF the storm starts drifting slowly west like the NHC insists...

How much of a problem would that be for NOLA? Would a large, slow-moving Cat-1 cane moving from the east just offshore be strong enough to pile water up Ponchartrain and the lower Delta region and cause problems?

Have there been any other storms that have strafed the Louisiana coast quite like the NHC forecast track?
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2725. Drakoen
Looks like the next vortex message will be northeast of the previous.
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So I get up to an organizing system that's following the GFS? Well, that's half of what I expected!
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Quoting wilmingtonistoast:
The Weather Channel has switched to somber music. Cantore reports that resort personnel are " furiously trying to get the chairs in. The real problem here are the HUGE lifeguard stands that now must be brought in".


Are you talking about on Florida's coast. If so we will have overwash on Longboat Key next high tide. The beach near the north end of Longboat has been washed away.
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Quoting aquak9:


a bumpy ride



Thanks aquak looks bad out there this system almost reminds me of charley with the shift in track went through that down in Fort Myers. I will try to keep all of you up today with what is happening here in Tallahassee.
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I see the NHC did not move much from their forecast track.....they are really sticking their necks out on this one unless they are correct. I knew they would never move that track much and would do so in small amounts!
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2719. centex
I wouldn't jump on any of the bandwagons just yet.
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Quoting ncstorm:




A consensus of the models are florida bound a Landfall anywhere from Tampa to Pensacola, Florida is likely I expect the cone to do one of the biggest flip flop in years. They were wrong about this storm from the start.
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2717. Drakoen
The TVCN has a nice track for the system based on all the computer models and is most agreeable.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
6z GFDL stays east



6z HWRF shifts east some, actually follows the NHC track pretty well... Note the unrealistic intensity...

On this large of a storm that seems like a large and strong Cat 1. Nothing unrealistic about it.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3841
Quoting Drakoen:
Debby is currently playing tug a war with ridge and the trough so expect so erratic but slow motion as we go throughout the day today.
IMO this is the big story with Debby for today... and also IMO worst effects from Debby are likely to come in the areas where storms train for 24 hours.

Such a great way to spend a Sunday.... :o)
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
Rain on all of FL now!:)



Not here in Pensacola...yet. I'm sure it will be here by this afternoon though!
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{{{aqua}}}}
Quoting aquak9:


a bumpy ride
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On long range radar, the leading edge of the rotation is slowly headed towards the West due South of Mobile. I cannot tell if that is actual motion of the COC or just expanding band coverage on the western flank.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8764
Quoting aquak9:


a bumpy ride

lol.
hey aqua
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Quoting ncstorm:




Appears we now have model agreement for the first time with this system....
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Good morning Debby!


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2707. icmoore
Quoting LargoFl:
bay news9 just said there is a bad storm cell headed for pinellas, should be here in about a half hour, has a history of water spouts etc..gee we dont need tornado's here..real bad morning it looks like for us


Thanks Largo.
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2706. LargoFl
...................jed there's the bad cell coming towards us in that box
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Quoting waterskiman:

LOL Orca is a he, and I think Zoomiami has the map
Quoting Beachfoxx:
That would be ZooMiami with the Mao. I think Orca has a link to the map on his blog.
My bad orca... and thanks guys/girls lol.
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2704. aquak9
Quoting mahep1911:
Hello all I live in Tallahassee florida and looks like we are in for a bumpy ride here any idea what we can expect


a bumpy ride
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The Weather Channel has switched to somber music. Cantore reports that resort personnel are " furiously trying to get the chairs in. The real problem here are the HUGE lifeguard stands that now must be brought in".
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Quoting BrickellBreeze:


Alright, Thanks. It appears you were correct yesterday when you favored an east track.

Models shifted to agree with you.



Are you serious NHC!!! The models are shifting east big time. The system is right up against the coast of Florida It going to take a lot for this storm to turn all the way west into Texas. The models are stating to have a consensus on Florida.
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2701. jpsb
Quoting Sfloridacat5:
Forecast for a Texas storm becoming "more and more less likely."
That's from our local meteorolgist.
Galveston here, I agree, I was going to into prepare mode, but my confidence in a Texas hit is very low. So I am not going to waste time preparing when I have many other important tasks that I need to do. Fla, Al, Ms. La enjoy Debby she is not going to Texas.
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Whatever happened to orca?? I think she had a google map with all of the bloggers' locations plotted on it
Orca is he. I think he still maintains his blog... and his map is still up....
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Quoting Grothar:
Hey, do we know anyone in De Funiak Springs?




How is Ike? I don't see him on here anymore.
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2698. LargoFl
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2697. ncstorm


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6z GFDL stays east



6z HWRF shifts east some, actually follows the NHC track pretty well... Note the unrealistic intensity...

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7601
Hello all I live in Tallahassee florida and looks like we are in for a bumpy ride here any idea what we can expect
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
I would Love the Beaches and the Fishing but I am not a fan of your humidity and to me there is such thing as too much rain, when I lived in La. during the Summer it rained every stinking day some years. Never been to Florida, I may have to visit.
I think you would feel very at home in the "nature coast" area of Florida (aka pasco, hernando, citrus counties. I've visited the coastal areas of La and the mangroves and marshes definitely remind me of my home turf in fl.
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looks like a eye has fourmed on the rader

Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114702
Ah, I'm in town near 231 and Transmitter. Nothing too heavy here, yet.
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11am update "should" show some major changes in the forecast track.
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From NWS Chat: 08:52 AM EDT -- widespread power outages across st. george island (near Apalachicola). Roughly 10 mins ago from Eric Fisher. Not sure if you have to quote sources.
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2689. LargoFl
bay news9 just said there is a bad storm cell headed for pinellas, should be here in about a half hour, has a history of water spouts etc..gee we dont need tornado's here..real bad morning it looks like for us
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Whatever happened to orca?? I think she had a google map with all of the bloggers' locations plotted on it

LOL Orca is a he, and I think Zoomiami has the map
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That would be ZooMiami with the Mao. I think Orca has a link to the map on his blog.
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Whatever happened to orca?? I think she had a google map with all of the bloggers' locations plotted on it
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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.