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 AllStar17:
Debby is certainly not a Little Debbie, that's for sure!


Just don't turn into a Debby Downer!

ba dum tiss
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Quoting Patrap:


I like how the 00Z Runs nailed the solution.



Should save that image for the "fail" category.

Wow, I don't know what's worse, last year's models on Lee, or this year's models on Debby...they're neck and neck I think...
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Any folks on from the Naples area up through Tampa Bay? That convection down there rotating up the coast looks intense on radar.
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Either the greatest GFS victory, or a humiliating defeat...

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Quoting louisianaboy444:


Lol I hope you get your storm this season man I must admit you pretty persistent lol...Not giving up hope...I like that ;)


you seem to be forgetting something

the west coast of Florida is already getting this storm and could have more impacts in terms of flooding rains, tornadoes and gusty winds, then most of the other coastal areas along the gulf coast

so to me at this point, I already have this storm, where it goes from here will not change that much
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7337
If it does indeed sneak to the Northeast tonight that might not bode well for the Northern Gulf Coast..The more North it goes the closer it will be to the coast before it makes its westward turn and the more effects are received...
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Debby is certainly not a Little Debbie, that's for sure!
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18z spaghetti
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1028. 7544
im stiill stickin with the gfs sory
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6676
Quoting RTSplayer:



Two of the Six on Wunderground's map are Louisiana landfalls.
At the time i posted i had not looked at the updated models on there but have since checked that, but i was mainly referring to like the GFS EURO HWRF. i know the GFDL used to be good but has went downhill the last few years, but thanks for the response to my question
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
872. TreasureCoastGirl80 9:48 PM EDT on June 23, 2012

The frog are croaking like crazy in my backyard and I am bone dry North of Tallahassee; maybe they know something I don't....... :)


Just noticed the same thing here in the Orlando area. I think frogs (and other animals) can sense rain on the way or nearby.
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Quoting Patrap:


I like how the 00Z Runs nailed the solution.


now thats what i call a cone of doom
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1024. Drakoen
Quoting hurricane23:


Take a look at the 18z GFS ensembles.



Definitely interesting, quite a cluster. I saw a similar dichotomy on the Euro ensembles, but more towards Texas.

Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29864
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
wow


wow....looks like things may be shifting back to Florida ?
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Quoting HrDelta:
In regards to the fire in my home city we have Feds now coming down.

Unfortunately, as I understand it, the nearest Feds able to respond are in Montana. They won't get into Colorado Springs till Tomorrow Morning. However, we seem to be one of the highest priority fires in the US, as a result of Colorado Springs being a population of over 600k, and having a massive military concentration.


Sounds like a very serious situation.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 550 Comments: 19775
And everyone sending it to Texas is a Westcaster!
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If anyone hasn't seen my usually detailed tropical update for tonight...check it out...

You can leave comments on how to make the posts better...
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11pm advisory should shed some light on the situation...

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1017. Patrap


I like how the 00Z Runs nailed the solution.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting Drakoen:


That's grounds for being called a Florida wishcaster. Can't have that in this blog.


Just thought of this... Florida wishcaster=Fishcaster
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wow
Quoting hurricane23:


Take a look at the 18z GFS ensembles.

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Quoting charlottefl:
3 HOURS AGO:



CURRENT:




Wrong level. You need sub 1000
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Nonsense. I'm there all the time!

You're only one person. :)
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1012. HrDelta
In regards to the fire in my home city we have Feds now coming down.

Unfortunately, as I understand it, the nearest Feds able to respond are in Montana. They won't get into Colorado Springs till Tomorrow Morning. However, we seem to be one of the highest priority fires in the US, as a result of Colorado Springs being a population of over 600k, and having a massive military concentration.
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Quoting Patrap:
Penn St E-Wall hits are way down.

Hmmmm?



Nonsense. I'm there all the time!
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1009. Grothar
Quoting Drakoen:


That's grounds for being called a Florida wishcaster. Can't have that in this blog.


:)
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Quoting hurricane23:


Take a look at the 18z GFS ensembles.



Quite a cluster, especially when you see the high over Texas retreat to the West over the past 3 hours
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Quoting hurricane23:


Take a look at the 18z GFS ensembles.



Interesting the ones that are taking it into the Upper Texas/Louisiana coasts...no more going straight to Texas
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Hard to believe it's missing a half. It's twice the size of a normal tropical cyclone as it is.

EPAC has also been donating quite a bit of energy over the last five days to add to the mix. Like someone mentioned earlier, this is monsoonal storm with every single complication that could be dealt it. I still haven't seen any of the proposed analogs to Debby to be satisfying precedences.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Well, here's how it looks to me if the GFS is right.

Best-case scenario:

People will give it more credit from here on out.

Worst-case:

Everybody hates the NHC for being so far off.
Everybody hates the models for being so far off.
Because the models were so far off and the NHC ended up being way off, people gain a sense of complacency and no longer listen to the NHC.


assume worst case always happens.
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1004. Patrap
Quoting KoritheMan:


I agree. However, a learning experience does not always have to be enjoyable.


USMC Boot Camp Theory?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting kmanislander:


I have posted twice about the opportunity for the system to drift off to the NE tonight but not even a nibble. LOL
There's plenty of us who lurk and appreciate your thoughts. These youngin's should respect their elders as much as we respect those who are studying.
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3 HOURS AGO:



CURRENT:


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The best satellite imagery to monitor/watch, (especially at night). Updated every 15 minutes

http://www.esl.lsu.edu/animate/goes/index.php?reg ion=gulf&channel=ir

Has infared, water vapor(nighttime), and visible, low cloud images(daytime)
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1000. Grothar
A little animation.


Link
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Penn St E-Wall hits are way down.

Hmmmm?

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting Hurricanes101:


because the GFS is nuts remember? lol


Except the GFS goes north until sunday and then monday evening you finally have that east track.
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Quoting kmanislander:


I have posted twice about the opportunity for the system to drift off to the NE tonight but not even a nibble. LOL


That's grounds for being called a Florida wishcaster. Can't have that in this blog.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29864
Quoting kmanislander:


I have posted twice about the opportunity for the system to drift off to the NE tonight but not even a nibble. LOL


Take a look at the 18z GFS ensembles.

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Quoting Levi32:


Personally, I find this experience with near-zero insight from the models very driving, pushing me to a new level of commitment and research trying to get the forecast right. Obviously for the residents of the gulf coast we would rather have a model consensus, but that aside, I wish these situations happened to meteorologists more often.


I agree. However, a learning experience does not always have to be enjoyable.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 550 Comments: 19775
Lot of that energy and moisture has surged eastward and I don't think it's coming back for Debbie. Debbie still may go west, but is two systems out of this out of the question?
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
Is Debby going NE now???


its always been moving roughly northeast
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Quoting mobhurricane2011:
Is there any models even predicting even a La landfall? All i have seen is Florida around the big bend area and Texas, im in the central gulf coast in the mobile area and no model is nowhere near us which is a good thing, hopefully it stays weak and goes to Texas where the rain is really needed



Two of the Six on Wunderground's map are Louisiana landfalls.
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When in doubt...follow the EURO.
Member Since: May 17, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 904
I guess I am surprised all the vigorous convection east of the center doesn't generally lower pressure there and pull the coc under the most intense convection.
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:
For anyone looking for more links, I've designed a site that compiles all the great links I've found over the years of tracking the tropics.

I hope it helps:

Link

Hey wow that is really cool that you did that on your webpage. I just got back on the site after a long absence and new computer and this will save me a ton of work.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


because the GFS is nuts remember? lol


Lol I hope you get your storm this season man I must admit you pretty persistent lol...Not giving up hope...I like that ;)
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


because the GFS is nuts remember? lol


Sorry, I forgot !
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Not to be off topic...

but I'm an NCSU Meteorology grad.. Any others on here?

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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.