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:
Let's summarize what is going on right now:
- Shear is lessening, Debby is organizing
- Debby is STATIONARY
- Debby is NOT decoupling
- Debby's center is still right where it was before, and it features several tiny vorticies rotating around a mean center (at least right now)


I think you hit the nail on the head...
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I don't see the ULL to the West going anywhere at present which one would think force Debby east, particularly once the trough arrives.
LinkWVLoopGOM
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Quoting KoritheMan:


What are your thoughts on this storm, Drew?


Pretty much in line with the EURO to Southern or South-Central Texas. If the upper low backs far enough away, I think I high end Cat 1 or low end Cat 2 is within the realm of possibility.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
633. j2008
There is absolutely NO decoupleing going on, Debby has looked like this all day. In fact she looks better than she did earlier today. Would be impressive if she could wrap at least one band all the way around during the overnight hours.
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Let's summarize what is going on right now:
- Shear is lessening, Debby is organizing
- Debby is STATIONARY
- Debby is NOT decoupling
- Debby's center is still right where it was before, and it features several tiny vorticies rotating around a mean center (at least right now)
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I might be wrong. But I think it's trying to go under the convection. We shall see though if that is right or not. But now, it is time to say goodnight to Debby.

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I had a feeling once the NHC put out there track if it was a westward bias the FL wishcasters would be on here in droves
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The GOM has a deep well of 26C isotherm to keep Debby going..

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Looks to hit more towards mid to upper TX
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

There are two of them are they're rotating around a common center.


Question: What are eddies? I do recognized that the "true" center of the storm is naked swirl west of the "heavy clouds" and it's not moving at all.
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Quoting rxse7en:
That's what I thought a while ago, but until/if the stated COC collapses I don't think we'll see a new COC form. Decoupling and reformation of COCs is above my pay grade. I think we're just seeing convection firing up where it can--away from the shear.


It's not all that uncommon to see a budding storm reform it's COC. Not saying that's what's happening but it just seems that way to me...of course it's likely an optical illusion.
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Whew....
48 hours of this
"wobble watching"

YES it is....

NO it isn't....

time to buy stock in popcorn and Fresca. : )
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I know you guys will appreciate the irony of this situation. Charlotte county Florida has suspended Wayne Sallade, their emergency management director for a week.
He spoke at a meeting in the city of Punta Gorda (that was pummeled by Hurricane Charley) and was not nice to the mayor ! He has implemented a system in the county where colored coded collars are placed on street signs to indicate evacuation zones; the city of Punta Gorda refused to participate in this program.
Wayne was naturally upset about this situation and let it be known. If Debby heads this way, who will they blame?
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Quoting washingaway:


Yes it is!


Nah. I don't think so.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Good Lord. With Debby not moving much for the next two days, we are going to have to fight those wanting it to go to Florida for a while to come. Any of you eddy-watching have also seen Debby do loop-da-loops all day long then I guess.


What are your thoughts on this storm, Drew?
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Quoting gordydunnot:
Anybody up for a good game of find the center of a sheared system at night; I believe it's been played quite a few times before to no avail. If it does a surprise strengthening it very well my be picked up by the trough.


this may be going on for days and days. lol
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Quoting Surferdude:
Def moving East


Im frothing if it does! All the surfers in FL want it to go east! I ready.
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Quoting BrickellBreeze:


GFS may actually be right, the system is spliting into two,

??
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This Video from Naples, Fla today was taken by a wunderblogger.

The Center isnt that concerning as effects from TS Debby can and will cause problems inland far from her center.



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It's way too soon to tell, but the current LLC is looking sickly.
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Good Lord. With Debby not moving much for the next two days, we are going to have to fight those wanting it to go to Florida for a while to come. Any of you eddy-watching have also seen Debby do loop-da-loops all day long then I guess.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
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Any chance the storm will weaken from upwelling?
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Quoting RussianWinter:


How many eddies are there, and where are they?

There are two of them are they're rotating around a common center.

Jeez, lots of wishcasting going on right now.

Wouldn't surprise me to see 50 kt/60 mph at 11PM EDT.
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Quoting shfr173:
could we be witnessing decoupling from LLC pushing off to the east as gfs predicted?



no the storm is not decoupling
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Way too much bogus information flying around and tons of wishcasting as well.

Good time to lurk.
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Quoting hurricanejunky:
Are those hot towers around what looks like a new COC?
That's what I thought a while ago, but until/if the stated COC collapses I don't think we'll see a new COC form. Decoupling and reformation of COCs is above my pay grade. I think we're just seeing convection firing up where it can--away from the shear.
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Quoting washingaway:
Every picture tells a story.

Link

Nice one.
Thanks.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
There is no new low-level center. The low-level center has not moved. It is stationary. There are eddies rotating around it.


How many eddies are there, and where are they?
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
18Z GFDL did the "windshield wiper"

18Z






12Z



GFS may actually be right, the system is spliting into two,
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The squall line east of Miami may contain sustained TS winds. The southern part of that line is the strongest and if it really is connect to Debby then it will be pulled back in Florida at some point I would think. Could be warnings up later if reports and readings verify.
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Anybody up for a good game of find the center of a sheared system at night; I believe it's been played quite a few times before to no avail. If it does a surprise strengthening it very well my be picked up by the trough.
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Def moving East
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Quoting washingaway:


Yes it is!

Lol, if only you had proof.
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Near Fort. Lauderdale, FL now. Definitely some tropical activity. Debby is stretching out her arms tonight!!
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Debby haven't moved at all in the past few hours. It's right where she was a few hours ago.
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Quoting hurricanejunky:
Are those hot towers around what looks like a new COC?


For goodness sake no.

It's a 1000mb low now, it's not going to just spit out "new" CoC's now.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting AllStar17:


No. The storm is NOT decoupling.


Yes it is!
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Was the stationary movement part of the forecast?
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Click Tropical Forecasts Points here and watch the CoC on the RGB ,,dont keep chasing those Upper Convective Spins as they are aloft, not down at the Surface.

Zoom and Skew are active too.

Debby Long Floater - RGB Color Imagery Loop
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Based on the satellite, Debby certainly seems to be moving NE a bit. If there is a trough to the northwest (even a weak one), wouldn't it move the storm up and out before a ridge can move Debby west?
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Quoting shfr173:
could we be witnessing decoupling from LLC pushing off to the east as gfs predicted?


No. The storm is NOT decoupling.
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Quoting pottery:

They are getting squalls and rain.

That does not mean it's Tropical Storm conditions.


Ok, ok. But I think not to warn FL when a major model points to them is a mistake. They will start to feel effects, if not already. Hence a blogger below who currently has no power. Just sayin.
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Every picture tells a story.

Link
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Debby's size is something to watch for in the next few days. It's massive.
True.
We are actually getting a feeder band in northeast Broward County now - on the east coast of FL. Debby's is a big girl.
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There is no new low-level center. The low-level center has not moved. It is stationary. There are eddies rotating around it.
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I see no relocation of any kind in association with Debby. Center still looks to be right where the NHC says it is.
Loop
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could we be witnessing decoupling from LLC pushing off to the east as gfs predicted?
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when a storm stay stationary, is a major problem because the amount of rain that get out of she, and this storm will stay in the gulf nearly 5 days. everybody in the gulf coast need to pay attention.

as we see the hwrf, in 18Z says that in 90-96 hours debby maybe made landfall in texas with a pressure of 982.6 hPA, that is closely a Hurricane cat 1.

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Are those hot towers around what looks like a new COC?
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The competing mini-swirls inside the broad low are being worked out. In a few more hours there will be a single clearly defined circulation.

Deeper convection is also starting to wrap the north side in the past 3 or 4 frames.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520

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