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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ive got a great idea we should make little debbie snacks the official snacks of wu till debby is gone
ya know replace fresca
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1485. Drakoen
27N

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So Debby didn't end up ruining my evening after all. :D

As far as satellite appearance, it has improved significantly over the past few hours so if she's intensifying at a good clip it wouldn't come as a surprise. I'd say we'll have a hurricane by late morning should the current trend continue.
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1483. Patrap
Debby still stalled in the same place.

One cant build a storm East by blogging.

: )

RAMSDIS GOES_13 TS Debby Viz to Night IR Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
Whats the general rule for storms...the stronger the storm the more poleward pull....a stronger storm would act more like the GFS while a weak system that we currently have would tend to move West toward Texas. Its all going to depend on where she goes based on her strength at this point IMO!
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Quoting AllStar17:


No...at least not yet. Once shear lessens, Debby will be in prime shape.

not good for us on gulf coast.
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1480. scott39
Quoting MississippiBoy:
Is center under coldest cloud tops?
NHC says maybe a possibility.
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Quoting scott39:
In the 10pm Discussion the NHC says Debbie maybe moving NE if the low is forming more under the deep convection. I think Debby may end up being farther NE than the current position than they are tracking now.


It's not exactly out of question.
Member Since: August 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 666
Quoting Patrap:


Debby Long Floater - Rainbow Color Imagery Loop

Menu and ZOOM active

Center coordinates:
27N ; 86.88 W
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Quoting MississippiBoy:
Is center under coldest cloud tops?


No...at least not yet. Once shear lessens, Debby will be in prime shape.
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1476. scott39
In the 10pm Discussion the NHC says Debbie maybe moving NE if the low is forming more under the deep convection. I think Debby may end up being farther NE than the current position than they are tracking now.
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1475. nigel20
Quoting MississippiBoy:
Well the way the convection is building I wouldn't be surprised to see a stonger TS in the morning.

Neither would i.
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1474. Patrap
04:02 UTC

Enhanced Infrared (IR) Imagery (4 km Mercator)

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
Is center under coldest cloud tops?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Well, i see the GFS continues to be the outlier with Debby.

Good night all. I think I'll even get up before 10 to track the storm, which is rare. Lol.


Get up before 10? I wake up for the 2 am update in the mid of the night.
Member Since: August 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 666
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Well, i see the GFS continues to be the outlier with Debby.

Good night all. I think I'll even get up before 10 to track the storm, which is rare. Lol.


Have a great night!
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Well, i see the GFS continues to be the outlier with Debby.

Good night all. I think I'll even get up before 10 to track the storm, which is rare. Lol.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32072
1469. Patrap


Debby Long Floater - Rainbow Color Imagery Loop

Menu and ZOOM active
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
1468. Torgen
Looks like I remembered my password- hi, guys!

First time in forever I've had to mow the yard two weeks in a row, what with all the (very welcome) rain we've had east of Tampa. Thought I'd drop by and see what the crew had to say about Lil Debbie while the wife watches some movies. I'll check in again in the morning!
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1467. JLPR2
If this completely original track of the GFS does come to past, Bermuda is in for a big surprise.

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lobdelse81, that link didn't work
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Well the way the convection is building I wouldn't be surprised to see a stonger TS in the morning.
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1464. Drakoen
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1463. Patrap
Das Bloom tonight

Gulf Of Mexico - Rainbow Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
1462. Seastep
Quoting Patrap:
Try the "Modify" feature.

..for free too.



lol
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1461. Patrap
Try the "Modify" feature.

..for free too.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
Quoting mynameispaul:
If Debby jogs east, then back west, then back east, then back west for 3 days someone's gonna commit hairy karey on this message board.
you expect a woman to not change her mind?
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Quoting Tribucanes:
Beryl won't get an upgrade most likely. At least all the real time wind reads when it came ashore never supported that. Maybe it really was weakening before it hit, we may never know.


I was there at the official landfall point in Jax Beach for Beryl, it was no hurricane.
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Low Cloud Product
Member Since: July 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1162
Quoting Grothar:


I was only kidding. I didn't want to express an opinion on it with this crowd. :) It is too late for an attack.
I see how it is.. xD
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1455. Patrap
Quoting Gorty:


Looks like she is finally getting wrapped around in more moisture?


Making headway slowly.

She Put a lot into maintaining that CoC and as the Sheer tomorrow relaxes we should see that Western and Northern side begin to fill.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
Quoting Grothar:


Paul, you know I think you are a great guy, but I just had to laugh at that one.

That sounds like it's doing the watosie.
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1453. sixx
Quoting washingtonian115:
Wow Debby is not even making landfall in Florida and she's giving them hell.
And you know they love it !! lol
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Quoting mynameispaul:
If Debby jogs east, then back west, then back east, then back west for 3 days someone's gonna commit hairy karey on this message board.


You're going to sing "Take Me Out To the Ballgame"?
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1451. ncstorm
Quoting patrikdude2:
Post the picture, please if you can! GFS has been unusually consistent with its runs, but this is highly unorthodox based on other models.


it did it for two frames and now its heading east..on that note Im going to bed..see you guys tomorrow
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Once again the GFS turns out to be ridiculous.

Well, I'm off to bed. Tomorrow will be very interesting.
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1449. Gorty
Quoting Patrap:
Of note tonight is the ULL fading last few frames as it slides Swest.

TFP's and Zoom are active

Gulf Of Mexico - Water Vapor Loop


Looks like she is finally getting wrapped around in more moisture?
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1448. Grothar
Quoting patrikdude2:
No I was not kidding. I am just not as aware of comprehending steering layer charts as you. LOL


I was only kidding. I didn't want to express an opinion on it with this crowd. :) It is too late for an attack.
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Quoting ncstorm:
it starts going back south on the GFS run ..crazy!
Post the picture, please if you can! GFS has been unusually consistent with its runs, but this is highly unorthodox based on other models.

UPDATE: Sorry the pic wasn't showing last time, it shows now, thanks!
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1446. 7544
looks for aanother big blow up to the east of debbie at dmax and with that another rainy nasty from the west to the se coast of fla again imo
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1445. Patrap
Mobile
NEXRAD Radar

Storm Relative Mean Radial Velocity 0.5° Elevation
Range 124 NMI

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
I'm going to end the Florida/Texas debate. Debby is coming to see me. Capiche?
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1443. nigel20
Quoting patrikdude2:
Ahh okay , thank you for clarifying this.

No problem!
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1442. owntime
That was cool thanks!
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Quoting patrikdude2:
Ahh okay , thank you for clarifying this.
So, it is based on the storm's pressure readings, right? Usually that would be in that same range for a tropical storm or hurricane.
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Quoting patrikdude2:
That probably is a moderate tropical storm right?

Almost the same intensity as now, basically. About 60 mph...
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1439. ncstorm
it starts going back south on the GFS run ..crazy!

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1438. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
Out to sea.
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Quoting Ameister12:

Yeah. It looks like a pretty intense storm off East Coast.


yuppers
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10490

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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.