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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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
Quoting BrickellBreeze:


Visiting a Friend in Margate,Fl, getting hammered with blinding rain and strong gusts. Kinda gives you a scope on how big it is.


Im in coral springs, FL and I was watching that storm band coming from the south from my front lawn. def. reaching us.
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584. hamla
a 70 mph tropical storm and a 75 mph huricane can do the same dammage so lets hope it doesn't get to a cat2+ status.when it stalls in the gom all bets are off cause its like a bowl of hot soup.the best case is for it to move fast where ever it goes fast is best
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


Agreed! They need to expand the TS watch/warning area for sure!

They are getting squalls and rain.

That does not mean it's Tropical Storm conditions.
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


Chill. I think a TS WATCH is needed for the northern gulf coast states. Not just a portion of LA. Trust me - it will happen!!


Im chill lol...and I do to I think it will move toward the north before it turns west and watches/warnings will be posted east of where they are now.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

The main center hasn't moved, but the eddy has been rotating around it and is now entering the convection.


I see the eddy being stretched and pulled rapidly to the ENE under the convection, which is evident on the shortwave loop:



Click image for loop, faster speed will help you see better.
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Quoting GPTGUY:


No they don't...no tropical storm conditions are being felt on the west coast of FL just rain and winds 10-20 mph...TS winds start at 39 mph.


Chill. I think a TS WATCH is needed for the northern gulf coast states. Not just a portion of LA. Trust me - it will happen!!
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Quoting reedzone:


Then I wasn't seeing things then.. If the center relocates under that convection, this would be stronger then it currently is.. Just look at that spin in the convection!


I think you're right!
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Shear now decreasing across the entire area of Debby.


With the LLC having stalled, it would seem to buy more time for the ULL to move out of the way.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Got something better? You really can't judge other than the obvious off a satellite loop.
My own eyes are better than that with this system. Hard to belive shear is that low when we can see it on loop :/
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


Agreed! They need to expand the TS watch/warning area for sure!


No they don't...no tropical storm conditions are being felt on the west coast of FL just rain and winds 10-20 mph...TS winds start at 39 mph.
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18z HWRF

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My gut--- I think we are about to see the NHC track do the windshield wiper effect.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Debby's size is something to watch for in the next few days. It's massive.

Probably something to watch out for over the season and certainly in future seasons, where SSTs get the upper hand over history's logs.
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RGB, TFP's are active
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Quoting duranta:
It's absurd that tropical storm warnings are not up for the west coast of Florida. They are experiencing tropical storm weather now.

Where are sustained winds of 35 knots on the coast? Gusts from thunderstorms don't count.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
Cody, why aren't you doing a blog? I've been looking forward to one for the last two days.

I'll do one right after 11.
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Quoting Gearsts:
I dont trust those values just look at the wv loop or RGB you can see cloud racing towards the COC pushing the convection east.


Got something better? You really can't judge other than the obvious off a satellite loop.
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Quoting duranta:
It's absurd that tropical storm warnings are not up for the west coast of Florida. They are experiencing tropical storm weather now.


No not even close there are no sustained winds at or above tropical storm force..most winds along the west coast of FL is in the 10-20 mph range.
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Seems like people on here seem to be lacking err.. patience. That's pretty key when looking at these storms. I really think the NHC knows what they're looking at, and Debby doesn't look any different from when it did when it was declared.. so I guess this would still be valid.

DEBBY IS CURRENTLY A SHEARED CYCLONE WITH NEARLY ALL OF THE DEEP
CONVECTION LOCATED IN A CURVED BAND TO THE EAST OF THE CENTER.
HOWEVER...AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW OVER THE NORTHWESTERN GULF OF MEXICO
IS FORECAST TO DIG SOUTHWESTWARD...WHICH WILL RESULT IN A DECREASE
OF VERTICAL SHEAR AFFECTING THE SYSTEM...AND A GREATER CHANCE OF
INTENSIFICATION OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS.
BECAUSE THE OFFICIAL TRACK
FORECAST IS SO DIFFERENT FROM THE GFS SOLUTION...THE GFS FIELDS USED
BY THE SHIPS AND LGEM MODELS ARE NOT LIKELY TO BE REPRESENTATIVE OF
THE CONDITIONS ENCOUNTERED BY DEBBY. THE NHC FORECAST THEREFORE
SHOWS MORE STRENGTHENING THAN INDICATED BY THE INTENSITY GUIDANCE.

Sit back and wait.
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Cody, why aren't you doing a blog? I've been looking forward to one for the last two days.
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Quoting duranta:
It's absurd that tropical storm warnings are not up for the west coast of Florida. They are experiencing tropical storm weather now.


Agreed! They need to expand the TS watch/warning area for sure!
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i noted that Debby is geting more rounded so when here low gets in too that round ball this storm may take off fast
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Oh, it's relocating alright


The main center hasn't moved, but the eddy has been rotating around it and is now entering the convection.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Shear now decreasing across the entire area of Debby.
I dont trust those values just look at the wv loop or RGB you can see cloud racing towards the COC pushing the convection east.
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Quoting duranta:
It's absurd that tropical storm warnings are not up for the west coast of Florida. They are experiencing tropical storm weather now.


I don't know if your trolling or not, but that's really not the case.

Max sustained winds in FL are around 10-15 mph.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Oh, it's relocating alright



Yea, as if it's being swept up somewhere.
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Quoting superpete:
We had very strong winds here in Cayman today, due south/south-east gusting + 30 mph, just an indication of how much air is getting pulled into TS Debbie from more than 400 miles away or so

Not surprised.
She cover a BIG area.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Oh ok, thanks.


I agree, I think the center is reforming more under the convection, which makes sense.


Then I wasn't seeing things then.. If the center relocates under that convection, this would be stronger then it currently is.. Just look at that spin in the convection!

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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
18Z GFDL did the "windshield wiper"

18Z






12Z


It's a shame the GFDL has become so awful... It used to be quite a reliable model but not anymore.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7612
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

???

000
NOUS42 KNHC 231530
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1130 AM EDT SAT JUN 23 2012
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 24/1100Z TO 25/1100Z JUN 2012
TCPOD NUMBER.....12-036

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA (GULF OF MEXICO)
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 70 --
A. 25/0000Z, 0600Z
B. AFXXX 0304A CYCLONE
C. 23/2245Z
D. 27.5N 88.2W
E. 24/2300Z TO 25/0600Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

FLIGHT TWO -- TEAL 71 --
A. 25/1200,1800Z
B. AFXXX 0404A CYCLONE
C. 25/1045Z
D. 27.5N 88.2W
E. 25/1100Z TO 25/1800Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: CONTINUE 6-HRLY FIXES.
3. REMARK: MISSION FOR 24/1200-1800Z FORM POD 12-035
WILL FLY AS ALREADY TASKED.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK.....NEGATIVE.
WVW


HH captain just on TWC. They will fly out again around 6am tomorrow morning.
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http://www.facebook.com/#!/StormTeam8WFLA

They just said Debbie has been drifting NE for the part few hrs...Anyone see this????
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Debby Long Floater - RGB Color Imagery Loop

ZOOM and menu are active

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Shear now decreasing across the entire area of Debby.
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Debby's size is something to watch for in the next few days. It's massive.
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It's absurd that tropical storm warnings are not up for the west coast of Florida. They are experiencing tropical storm weather now.
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18Z GFDL did the "windshield wiper"

18Z






12Z

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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


The next mission departs at 6:15 AM EDT.

???

000
NOUS42 KNHC 231530
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1130 AM EDT SAT JUN 23 2012
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 24/1100Z TO 25/1100Z JUN 2012
TCPOD NUMBER.....12-036

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA (GULF OF MEXICO)
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 70 --
A. 25/0000Z, 0600Z
B. AFXXX 0304A CYCLONE
C. 23/2245Z
D. 27.5N 88.2W
E. 24/2300Z TO 25/0600Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

FLIGHT TWO -- TEAL 71 --
A. 25/1200,1800Z
B. AFXXX 0404A CYCLONE
C. 25/1045Z
D. 27.5N 88.2W
E. 25/1100Z TO 25/1800Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: CONTINUE 6-HRLY FIXES.
3. REMARK: MISSION FOR 24/1200-1800Z FORM POD 12-035
WILL FLY AS ALREADY TASKED.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK.....NEGATIVE.
WVW
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Quoting mynameispaul:


I honestly don't see Debby making it to a hurricane even if she goes west. Looks like too much shear and dry air to the west of her. Just my opinion.
Well, I'm not expert so... but you might be right.
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Quoting Patrap:
Gulf Of Mexico - False Color RGB Loop



Wow! Starting to wrap around on the west side. Watch out! Major changes ahead!
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Oh, it's relocating alright

I think it's just losing it's convection and when that ULL pulls out, the remaining LLC will fire back up. I'm just curious about what happens to the convection that gets decoupled.
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Quoting nigel20:
It seems as if Debby is getting ready to ramp up...looking at the RAMSDIS visible loop. You can even see the lower level clouds getting pulled from as far south as the Caribbean and South America into the circulation.
We had very strong winds here in Cayman today, due south/south-east gusting + 30 mph, just an indication of how much air is getting pulled into TS Debbie from more than 400 miles away or so
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
I'm not an expert, but I think it's better for everybody if Debby to go to Florida as a Tropical Storm instead of going west toward Texas as a Hurricane... so it's better to cheer on GFS model.


I honestly don't see Debby making it to a hurricane even if she goes west. Looks like too much shear and dry air to the west of her. Just my opinion.
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Quoting SubtropicalHi:


Noticed this too. It seems the dryline has moved further east.

The HPC surface analysis does not indicate a dry line. A dry line would be a surface feature anyway. The upper level low is pulling drier air in from the west though. Here's a pic.

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Looks like I'm about to get a squall line here in port saint lucie within the hour.
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539. Gorty
Quoting WxGeekVA:
Oh, it's relocating alright



Wow! Its almost like the the western side is showing a reflection of its eastern side. Amazing!
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


The next mission departs at 6:15 AM EDT.

Oh ok, thanks.

Quoting WxGeekVA:
Oh, it's relocating alright


I agree, I think the center is reforming more under the convection, which makes sense.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7612
Very bad news for Texas if Debby get more organized... the size and very warm water in Gulf of Mexico will mean Debby will have a shot at hurricane level. For now, it's not organized.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Oh, it's relocating alright



+1
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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.