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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Not to be off topic...

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

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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.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Still not convinced?

"Debby is by far one of the most difficult tropical cyclones I've had to forecast. There remains little to no model agreement in where the storm will go subsequent to this point. The 0z suite was just released, and, to nobody's surprise -- least of all mine, there remains a remarkable spread, with some calling for a strike anywhere from Texas to Florida. Same news, different day."

Excerpt from said blog.


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.
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Quoting weatherlover94:


ok and if this goes away is the shear NOT going to increase?....what i mean is when this pulls away is Debby going to become a hurricane?


if this pulls away shear will slacken but no one can know for sure if it will be a cane but the chances certainly increase
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Quoting hurricane23:
WFO Tallahassee few min ago.

It appeared that the center of Debby was moving northeast in the last couple of visible satellite pics of the day. However, we are
attributing that to a wobble and anticipate little movement with this system during the overnight hours. However, if the trend does
not reverse itself, then we may need to finally consider the possibility that the GFS solution (which we have been routinely
discounting for days) may have some merit.


Interesting...
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Is Debby going NE now???
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Quoting hurricane23:
WFO Tallahassee few min ago.

It appeared that the center of Debby was moving northeast in the last couple of visible satellite pics of the day. However, we are
attributing that to a wobble and anticipate little movement with this system during the overnight hours. However, if the trend does
not reverse itself, then we may need to finally consider the possibility that the GFS solution (which we have been routinely
discounting for days) may have some merit.


Great.

Pretty much a wait and see game.

Scenario 1: Days over water with intensification probable...

Scenario 2: 24-36 hours over water and makes landfall in Florida as a weak system.
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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


because the GFS is nuts remember? lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7803
Quoting hurricane23:
WFO Tallahassee few min ago.

It appeared that the center of Debby was moving northeast in the last couple of visible satellite pics of the day. However, we are
attributing that to a wobble and anticipate little movement with this system during the overnight hours. However, if the trend does
not reverse itself, then we may need to finally consider the possibility that the GFS solution (which we have been routinely
discounting for days) may have some merit.


I have posted twice about the opportunity for the system to drift off to the NE tonight but not even a nibble. LOL
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wind shear is down too 10kt



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If sheer is indeed down to 10 knots, and the ULL moves out of the way, Debbie could really ramp up but I have would have no idea as to the time frame.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


ATCF made an update dropping the pressure to 998 mbs.

Link


winds should increase accordingly in the next update it takes a delayed reaction
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Quoting weatherh98:


95% chance of pulling a way not sure about the whole weakening thing


ok and if this goes away is the shear NOT going to increase?....what i mean is when this pulls away is Debby going to become a hurricane?
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Quoting weatherlover94:
hi everybody....looks like Debby is trying to get its act together....question....everybody is talking about that ULL....is there a chance that ULL could weaken and pull away?

It's expected to, which should provide a low shear environment for Debby within the next two days. At least, that's the forecast, which means little right now.
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Quoting txag91met:

Texas A&M has an awesome program too. But it isn't easy.
None of the accredited met programs are easy, the forecasting classes like synoptic and remote sensing are fun and easy - its the dynamics I & II, Calc III, PDE, ODE, and numerical analysis classes that makes getting that met degree difficult.  Took me 4 and a half years to get it done, but I'm glad its over. 
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Quoting luvtogolf:


Just shoot me:(

Me too!
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Quoting PackManWx:
correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't XTRP model just extrapolation and an extention of what the storm is doing now?

so since it is barely moving, it has it sitting there for a long time?



Correct.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 581 Comments: 20758
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I use your site all the time, you're awesome for making it. The Precipitable Water Loop under "Satellite imagery" doesn't work, however.
Well thank you very much. And thanks for the heads up I'll fix it now. I'm adding more links as I find them.
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Quoting aspectre:
Derived from (NHC) ATCF data for TropicalStormDebby for 24June12amGMT:
Its vector (direction&speed) was NEast at 1.5mph(2.5km/h)
MaxSusWinds had increased from 40knots(46mph)74km/h to 45knots(52mph)83km/h
And minimum pressure had decreased from 1001millibars to 1000millibars

For those who like to visually track TropicalStormDebby's path...
CRP is CorpusChristi,Texas :: MOB is Mobile,Alabama :: PAM is PanamaCity,Florida

The SWesternmost dot on the shortest line-segment was Invest96L's position as a closedLOw
The next dot NEast is TS.Debby's most recent position

The longest line is the straightline projection through TS/Debby's 2 most recent positions to the coastline
At 24June12amGMT, TS.Debby was heading toward passage over KeatonBeach,Florida in ~9days7hours

Copy&paste lch, mob, apf, 6fl4, 25.4n87.6w-26.0n87.6w, 26.0n87.6w-26.1n87.5w, 26.0n87.6w-29.816n83.587w into the GreatCircleMapper for more information
The previous mapping for comparison


ATCF made an update dropping the pressure to 998 mbs.

Link
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Quoting Drakoen:


Yes. Its interesting to note that the convective pattern is much more consistent with the GFS depiction than the higher resolution ECMWF.


Been trying to ignore that, but it really does look quite similar.

Really wish that the recon flight that was tasked for this evening actually got their feet wet...

Would help incredibly right now.
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Quoting weatherlover94:
hi everybody....looks like Debby is trying to get its act together....question....everybody is talking about that ULL....is there a chance that ULL could weaken and pull away?


95% chance of pulling a way not sure about the whole weakening thing
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correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't XTRP model just extrapolation and an extention of what the storm is doing now?

so since it is barely moving, it has it sitting there for a long time?

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WFO Tallahassee few min ago.

It appeared that the center of Debby was moving northeast in the last couple of visible satellite pics of the day. However, we are
attributing that to a wobble and anticipate little movement with this system during the overnight hours. However, if the trend does
not reverse itself, then we may need to finally consider the possibility that the GFS solution (which we have been routinely
discounting for days) may have some merit.
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Quoting rxse7en:
Could someone please take a moment to explain to me how I should be reading this image, please? I turned on the LatLon lines and the plot points and according to this there is no convection near the designated COC? (87.5w 26.1n) Is that right?



Pretty much, yeah. Shear is choking it for now.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 581 Comments: 20758
Debby:



Lee:



Look familiar?
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
72 hours



That was issued hours ago. Although I suppose not much has changed, has it?
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 581 Comments: 20758
is Debby moving NE now???
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Could someone please take a moment to explain to me how I should be reading this image, please? I turned on the LatLon lines and the plot points and according to this there is no convection near the designated COC? (87.5w 26.1n) Is that right?

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Talk about spaghetti plots. looks like what my daughter did with a spoon full of spaghetti last night. splat!!!

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Quoting luvtogolf:


Just shoot me:(


ROFLMO.. just leave this book marked :)

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Derived from (NHC) ATCF data for TropicalStormDebby for 24June12amGMT:
Its vector (direction&speed) was NEast at 1.5mph(2.5km/h)
MaxSusWinds had increased from 40knots(46mph)74km/h to 45knots(52mph)83km/h
And minimum pressure had decreased from 1001millibars to 998millibars

For those who like to visually track TropicalStormDebby's path...
LCH is LakeCharles,Louisiana :: MOB is Mobile,Alabama :: APF is Naples,Florida

The SWesternmost dot on the shortest line-segment is where Invest96L became TropicalStormDebby
The next dot NEast is TS.Debby's most recent position

The longest line is the straightline projection through TS/Debby's 2 most recent positions to the coastline
At 24June12amGMT, TS.Debby was heading toward passage over KeatonBeach,Florida in ~9days7hours

Copy&paste lch, mob, apf, 6fl4, 26.0n87.6w-26.1n87.5w, 26.0n87.6w-29.816n83.587w into the GreatCircleMapper for more information
The previous mapping for comparison
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hi everybody....looks like Debby is trying to get its act together....question....everybody is talking about that ULL....is there a chance that ULL could weaken and pull away?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

*high fives Harrison*


*fist bumps cody*
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Quoting weatherh98:


cant lose what you dont haeve


Word.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 581 Comments: 20758
Quoting Patrap:


Amen,, and one can zoom and skew that Image Loop

skew?
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72 hours

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Quoting KoritheMan:
I'm currently writing a blog/forecast on Debby, and trying really hard not to lose my sanity.


Still not convinced?

"Debby is by far one of the most difficult tropical cyclones I've had to forecast. There remains little to no model agreement in where the storm will go subsequent to this point. The 0z suite was just released, and, to nobody's surprise -- least of all mine, there remains a remarkable spread, with some calling for a strike anywhere from Texas to Florida. Same news, different day."

Excerpt from said blog.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 581 Comments: 20758
Quoting weatherh98:


cant lose what you dont haeve

*high fives Harrison*
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new wind shear map show wind shear is down too 10kt


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01:45 UTC Image

Enhanced Infrared (IR) Imagery (4 km Mercator)

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128609
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


here is one to add to your listLink
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Quoting KoritheMan:
I'm currently writing a blog/forecast on Debby, and trying really hard not to lose my sanity.


cant lose what you dont haeve
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Quoting KoritheMan:
I'm currently writing a blog/forecast on Debby, and trying really hard not to lose my sanity.


Have a Little Debby snack! ;p Too much? Anyways we've had 1.24" here so far today, very brief, but very heavy tropical downpours. Also had 3 possible tornado touchdowns within about 20 miles of here.
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925. Grothar 10:07 PM EDT on June 23, 2012

Correct in terms of the movement of any bands....My Mother in Law in Plantation reported some strong gusts out west and it is drizzing at the moment in East Lauderdale.
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???????

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Quoting RadarRich:
875. Levi32 1:50 AM GMT on June 24, 2012
I'm looking at FSU, but there are other possibilities too. I'm not sure what my opportunities will be like since I will not have had a single MET course upon entry.



No worries as far as the lack of MET courses., that is fine as far as MET courses are concerned. Once enrolled you can concentrate most of your course load and curriculum towards that. As far as FSU, that is a great choice among many. It also puts you close to the NHC which I would recommend you as an intern in a heartbeat. I know school is tough enough but you could intern there during breaks and the summer as well...
Keep all your options open

Texas A&M has an awesome program too. But it isn't easy.
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Quoting Altestic2012:
XTRP model has Debby lingering in the same spot for the next 2 weeks!


Just shoot me:(
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

It moves northeast and slams into the Florida Panhandle. It crosses the state, continues east, begins a southward turn while rapidly intensifying, turns west and hits Miami as a Category 5 hurricane. Moves southwest across the state again, enters the Gulf, and becomes a 200 mph hurricane that hits New Orleans and stalls. It turns southeast and eventually west, becoming a Category 4 hurricane and making landfall just south of Galveston. It moves inland while rapidly dissipating, providing inland Texas with little to no rain.
You make have a future for writing movie scripts for sci-fi.
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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.