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 Tazmanian:




hmmm is that a eye wall fourming?? in the mid there all so noted the banning starting too set up on the S and N side of the storm


It may be the start of a CDO, which would mean around 60mph. Though without a center confirmation it's unclear as to if the center is actually there.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Look at the direction of the arrow over South Carolina and then over Mississippi and Alabama. There is a break in between which may explain why Debby has stalled.



The 850 and 500 mb. vort is tilted towards the east.


http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/atlantic/wi nds/wg8vor2.GIF


i think it hs more to do with the lestening effect of the tradewinds and bermuda high but you must want florida
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Quoting weatherh98:


ill tell you what i see.
not tht you care but...

i see 2 circulations spinning around the real one and they keep going in and out of the convection as they spin. every time one goes under and people cant find it they scream and shout about a new center. when one comes out they say a new one just formed it is way stupid. literally going in circles
Been helping my sister move all day and had no WU access - ! - so had to watch TWC and was mildly irritated at their analogy of the western- vs. eastern-biased models as two competing controllers in a video game! But whatever it takes to get the public watching Debby develop, I guess.
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Bob show is live
Debby is stationary at the moment
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Remember, just like one blown forecast doesn't make a bad forecaster, the same thing goes for the models... Yeah this will probably be a huge disappointment for the GFS, but all the models do this sometimes... Doesn't mean the GFS is never to be trusted again.
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Quoting RussianWinter:
One thing I think is for sure... We will know at 8pm monday which model was correct... Am I right?


well... more like 8 PM riday but whats aa work week these days
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
More convection developing





hmmm is that a eye wall fourming?? in the mid there all so noted the banning starting too set up on the S and N side of the storm
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That about sums it up. Where in God's name did Oracle de Laurentis go.
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GLP?

Where logic and sanity goes to die?

No ty..but Im sure you fit in nicely.

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Look at the direction of the arrow over South Carolina and then over Mississippi and Alabama. There is a break in between which may explain why Debby has stalled.



The 850 and 500 mb. vort is tilted towards the east.




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somebody keeps talkin about lobster. well its pouring rain so im not going out. and the closest thing i have is a can of salmon. but i do havea pot of rice cooked, so....
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Quoting Drakoen:


Center relocation is certainly possible. We have seen this before where the center attempt to establish itself closer to the convection. It is evident that there are multiple vorticities within a broad cyclonic gyre.

Hopefully the 00z models can come in better agreement. I see the GFDL has moved west in its 18z run and the HWRF has nudged farther north and east. The CMC has nudge eastward so its still a wait and see. It will be quite a blow to the GFS model to potentially not have seen what the other models have.

Do you see that occurring at the current time like some bloggers are suggesting?
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it seems to me that swirl we have been looking at as the center just got pulled under the deep convection that just flared up,just my observation.
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night all, will see you and debby in the a.m.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Interesting that the models that have opposing scenarios happen to have the best skill score for the 500mb heights in the Northern Hemisphere.



You showed graphically what has been said several times. Thank you.
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Quoting Autistic2:
why wont the GFS let go of Tampa?

Because it suffers from convective feedback.
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Quoting ncstorm:
EVERYONE on this blog is a wishcaster..you wouldnt be here if you werent..let people state their opinion, if you dont like it then dont comment..its gets old after 6 years to hear the same term over and over

Hi, Im ncstorm and I am a wishcaster!..LOL!! Lighten up blog!


Everyone but me 'cause I never say a word...shhh :)
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I'm in west palm beach and that squall line just came through, wow, pretty strong squall, about 40 mph wind and rain for a minute, steady rain now.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Take a look at the loop

the COC is either falling apart or moving back towards the convection


Whatever you say man. It's your opinion. Just going by the obvious (coordinates) and (TWC) as they explain it very clearly as to where the COC is.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Drak, do you see any sort of center relocation or a new one forming currently with Debby?


Center relocation is certainly possible. We have seen this before where the center attempt to establish itself closer to the convection. It is evident that there are multiple vorticities within a broad cyclonic gyre.

Hopefully the 00z models can come in better agreement. I see the GFDL has moved west in its 18z run and the HWRF has nudged farther north and east. The CMC has nudge eastward so its still a wait and see. It will be quite a blow to the GFS model to potentially not have seen what the other models have.
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Link

yikes! Her wind field extends outwards of 175 miles!
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One thing I think is for sure... We will know at 8pm monday which model was correct... Am I right?
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


That's a TC Formation probability chart. It's awful hard for a TC to form where a TC already is haha.


Debby is still forming..you know it can become a hurricane which is still a TC?
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why wont the GFS let go of Tampa?
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Deerfield Beach, FL / Northeastern Broward reporting


When the squall line came through about 45 mins ago, definitely had tropical storm force gusts, in the ballpark of 40-50 mph. Knocked over my parsley plant outside my stoop (I'm on the 4th floor of a condo), minimal lightning and heavy rain.

Wondering if we will get another line here later tonight.


Longtime lurker, big fan of the blog

(Goes back in hiding
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Quoting gordydunnot:
If you got the money go for stone crabs. Hmmm can't remember the last time I had them. Oh well Pat is this blog turning into a America's next model vs. so you think your swirl can dance.



Seems we should call it,"GOM 2012 Mayan Swirl-a-palooza"
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Drak, do you see any sort of center relocation or a new one forming currently with Debby?


ill tell you what i see.
not tht you care but...

i see 2 circulations spinning around the real one and they keep going in and out of the convection as they spin. every time one goes under and people cant find it they scream and shout about a new center. when one comes out they say a new one just formed it is way stupid. literally going in circles
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If you got the money go for stone crabs. Hmmm can't remember the last time I had them. Oh well Pat is this blog turning into a America's next model vs. so you think your swirl can dance.
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Good Evening. Just watching Debby do her thing for the moment. Still quiet in North Florida but thinking of my friends and family in South Florida. They need to send Debby a Thank You card for filing up Lake Okeechobee before she heads west.
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Quoting bappit:
Looking at the upper low on the water vapor IR image, I wonder if the ULL is actually shielding Debby from dry air as much as supplying it.

Why would that be? The upper-level low is the reason there is dry air over Texas right now. It's pulling it in from the west.
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Can we stop talking about wishcasters?.It's kinda getting immature now and makes me think a preschooler came up with it.
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Deerfield Beach, FL / Northeastern Broward reporting


When the squall line came through about 45 mins ago, definitely had tropical storm force gusts, in the ballpark of 40-50 mph. Knocked over my parsley plant outside my stoop (I'm on the 4th floor of a condo), minimal lightning and heavy rain.

Wondering if we will get another line here later tonight.


Longtime lurker, big fan of the blog

(Goes back in hiding)
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More convection developing

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Looking at the upper low on the water vapor IR image, I wonder if the ULL is actually shielding Debby from dry air as much as supplying it.
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I think I'll sign up for the IAPD support group. It makes me nervous to see Debbie sitting there and not moving, just sorta looking around and getting bigger...
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Quoting ILwthrfan:


Looks like that ULL is finally starting to drift the southwest.

Western Texas is surely hoping you're right.
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Quoting 12george1:
Feeling the outerbands of Debby here in West Palm Beach, Florida

Should start getting some good rain in saint lucie county.
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Quoting TXCaneCrasher:


It cant be since the COC has been stationary. Everyone is wanting to say the COC is relocating. It's not. I was being sarcastic when I quoted him.


Take a look at the loop

the COC is either falling apart or moving back towards the convection
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ppssst,

Best Track Position and Intensity as of:

Sunday, June 24, 2012 0:00 Z

Location at the time:
301 statue miles (484 km) to the S (183°) from Pensacola, FL, USA.

Wind (1 min. avg.):
45 knots (~52 mph | 23 m/s | 83 km/h)

Pressure:
1000 mb (29.53 inHg | 1000 hPa)

Coordinates:

26.1 N 87.5 W

Source:
National Hurricane Center's (NHC) Automated Tropical Cyclone Forecasting (ATCF) System and not from any available advisory data
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Quoting reedzone:
New runs have shifted east to LA..



Still west of course, but not as west as Mexico form earlier.. Just impossible to me.. These new runs look much more realistic.


look at the loop

that circulation that was exposed is either falling apart or being sucked back into the convection, hard to tell since we just went to sundown...but something is happening there

center is further east than it was at 5pm
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


no other way around he is saying


It cant be since the COC has been stationary. Everyone is wanting to say the COC is relocating. It's not. I was being sarcastic when I quoted him.
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Quoting ncstorm:
so no purple where the storm symbol is??



That's a TC Formation probability chart. It's awful hard for a TC to form where a TC already is haha.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Interesting that the models that have opposing scenarios happen to have the best skill score for the 500mb heights in the Northern Hemisphere.


Drak, do you see any sort of center relocation or a new one forming currently with Debby?
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New runs have shifted east to LA..



Still west of course, but not as west as Mexico from earlier.. Just impossible to me.. These new runs look much more realistic.
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Quoting MississippiBoy:
I see models are going off leftend and rightend,I just hope mother nature doesn't pull a sneek up the middle.Thats something that Alabama would pull.LOL


ROLL TIDE
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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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