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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Quoting Ameister12:
GFS still has Debby going east...


Sigh, looks like it'll be having an epic fail then...
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3471
1385. angiest
Quoting patrikdude2:

Does this graphic show it could potentially move a bit more Northeast in the near future path?


That appeared to be the wrong layer for this storm. It said <940mb unless I read it wrong from my phone.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Small??


I was joking Cody -__-
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Florida Landfall;
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4975
1382. Grothar
Quoting patrikdude2:

Does this graphic show it could potentially move a bit more Northeast in the near future path?



Are you kidding? You want me to really answer that on this blog???? :)

Let's just say I posted it because I thought the lines were nice.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26117
Hey there rolltide36526.......November 3rd is Redemption time Baby!!!!!!
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GFS still has Debby going east...
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4975
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.
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:

36 to 60 Hours.


Wow that long. With sheer decreasing, being stationary, and very warm water she could possibly really build up.
Or am I thinking wrong?
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1377. rxse7en
I think it's just going to be a permanent fixture in the Gulf--like the Great Spot on Jupiter. Good night all. ;)
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The GFS is running now.
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i still say Debby will anywhere from Freeport TX to southwest Louisiana
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I'm looking through GRLevelXStuff.com, but I'd like some of your guys favorite color tables.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4975
Quoting Grothar:

Does this graphic show it could potentially move a bit more Northeast in the near future path?
Member Since: July 20, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 225
Lots of floating fire ants along the Northern Gulf next week
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1371. Drakoen
GFS 00z still as stubborn as ever.
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And the GFS goes to Florida again. Maybe when Debby moves West it will finally go West.
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Quoting DestinDave:

Looks as though the LLC has displced to the right over the past 4 hours - looks like a Fl. strom to me. Any thoughts?

Quoting DestinDave:

Looks as though the LLC has dispalced to the right over the past 4 hours south of Panama City - looks like a Fl. storm to me. Any thoughts?

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Quoting wxgeek723:
WU Fantasy: Debby strikes Houston as a category 4
Reality: Debby hits rural Texas as a small category 1

Small??
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32001
What will we need to see Debby do in order to determine which path she will take?

In other words, will a jog to the west symbolize that the westward path is validating?
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Quoting HimacaneBrees:
This may be a silly question seeing how hard Debby is to track. How long is she expected to remain stationery?

36 to 60 Hours.
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Buoys to the west of the cyclone hint at a slight northward movement of the circulation center.
http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/ramsdis/online/lo op_640.asp?product=tropical_ge_4km_visir2_floater_ 1
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1363. Patrap
Quoting HimacaneBrees:
This may be a silly question seeing how hard Debby is to track. How long is she expected to remain stationery?


The NHC Advisory has all that and more.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
This may be a silly question seeing how hard Debby is to track. How long is she expected to remain stationary?
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I am closing the poll (Going to bed).

TS- 1
Cat 1- 3
Cat 2- 5
Cat 3- 0
Cat 4- 0
Cat 5- 0

So Cat 2 it is!
Night everyone.
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1360. Grothar
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26117
Quoting all4hurricanes:
1308: Karl was the last Hurricane in the Gulf
and I noticed that since 2008 the US Gulf coast has gotten almost nothing


Ah, that's right. My bad. Karl was indeed the last GOM hurricane.
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WU Fantasy: Debby strikes Houston as a category 4
Reality: Debby hits rural Texas as a small category 1
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Quoting PackManWx:
Will we know by Monday morning which direction the storm is definitively headed?


maybe.
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Quoting Patrap:
Er, the center is still where it was at 10pm


ZOOM is enabled

RAMSDIS TS Debby Viz to Night IR Loop

Watcha thinking about Pat?
Debby = Texas?
Debby = Florida?
lol I was in Galveston last week, Was really hesitating and thinking to tell people there could be a possible hurricane in the area this week. xD Im such a horrible person, sometimes. I'll be back in Galveston Next week so :/ uh oh
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Quoting 12george1:

What about the 1908 AHS? There was two hurricanes even before June 1

Yeah, turns out, wasn't a record.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32001
Looks as though the LLC has dispalced to the right over the past 4 hours south of Panama City - looks like a Fl. storm to me. Any thoughts?
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1353. Patrap
The water is warm,
but it's sending me shivers.
A baby is born,
crying out for attention.
Memories fade,
like looking through a fogged mirror
Decision to decisions are made and not bought
But I thought,
this wouldn't hurt a lot.
I guess not.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
Quoting washingtonian115:
Wow Debby is not even making landfall in Florida and she's giving them hell.


Not here. We have had nothing here today but a sprinkle and cloudy skies. Looks like if the forecast track for Debby holds East Central Florida will not get much to speak of as far as rain. A fairly brief period of light to moderate rain is on the way for us in a couple hours time, but if the current location is as close as Debby will be getting to Florida, where will our rain come from as the storm pulls west and tightens up (strengthens). I am glad to see West Central FL at least getting some much needed rain.
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I am off to sleep, too!

Should be an exciting day again tomorrow, tracking Debby.



Good night, everybody :)
Member Since: July 20, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 225
Quoting rxse7en:
Firing up some cold tops now. http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/floaters/04L/flas h-avn-long.html


That's pretty impressive. DMIN just ended. That looks like proof enough that Debby is an intensifying/organizing tropical cyclone. Not that anyone's really arguing against it, anyway.
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Will we know by Monday morning which direction the storm is definitively headed?
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Evening All.

Clouds forming over the center for once.

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Quoting 12george1:

haha, that is a good one! Dyslexics are teople poo

Just spat out my water all over the screen.
ha. "Teople poo" love it.
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
That's some crazy flow there...



That's what I was thinking.
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Quoting Bretts9112:

Because they are uninformative thats why
Lol uninformative?! How so? It informs you on the thinking of the blog and helps me anyway guessing the final intensity of the system. To some people it may be but not to all. I take value in what everyone here says (Unless its the obvious troll or totally unreasonable.) Think of it as the WUB model.
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1344. 7544
looks like the gfs might be joining the west camp this run so far i saw a west nudge lol
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6811
1343. Skyepony (Mod)
OPC surge model has a Tampa landfall for Debbie coming across CFL. Lot of 2-3ft surge.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37829
1342. Gorty
She still looks sheared.
Member Since: November 8, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 1058
The ensamble models sure do look like a florida storm
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1340. Patrap
Er, the center is still where it was at 10pm


ZOOM is enabled

RAMSDIS TS Debby Viz to Night IR Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
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Well, I am off for the night. Tomorrow will be another interesting day. Night all.
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Quoting rxse7en:
I lhave sex daily. Er, I mean, I have dyslexia.

haha, that is a good one! Dyslexics are teople poo
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Hey Levi, I'm having issues accessing your site if you are still online, just FYI.
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3471

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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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