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 WxGeekVA:
Oh, it's relocating alright



+1
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Quoting cabice:


NE/E Movement.
LOL guys dont get fool by the pretty convection spin(mid Level), COC is still almost in the same place.
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Quoting newportrinative:


Where are you? I'm in Broward as well (Oakland Park) and we have nothing. Also no warnings on tv about any severe weather.


Hello still no power but just lit some candles anyways the worst just pushed out of my area just some moderate rainfall now. Bty I live in West Broward close to the Everglades.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

The National Hurricane Center coordinates with the National Weather Service to issue them. It is up to the NWS whether or whether not they should go up for a particular area of the coast.


No, NHC issues watches warnings.
National Hurricane Operations Plan, Chapter 3


3.2.2. Tropical Cyclone Public Advisories (TCP). The TCP is the primary tropical
cyclone information product issued to the public. The TCP comprises five sections: Summary,
Watches and Warnings, Discussion and Outlook, Hazards, and Next Advisory. The NHC, the
CPHC, and WFO Guam issue TCPs. The following pertains to the tropical
storm/hurricane/typhoon watches and warnings contained in the TCP:

 NHC. NHC issues tropical storm/hurricane watches/warnings for the Atlantic,
Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico coasts of the continental United States, the US Virgin
Islands, and Puerto Rico. NHC issues watches when conditions along the coast are
possible within 48 hours. NHC issues warnings when conditions along the coast are
expected within 36 hours.
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Oh, it's relocating alright

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It looks more like a spider than spaghetti :)

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

The National Hurricane Center coordinates with the National Weather Service to issue them. It is up to the NWS whether or whether not they should go up for a particular area of the coast.


They don't have warnings along the FL coast because there are not any recorded sustained winds at or above tropical storm force..and the NHC predicts for now a westward movement away from FL..if things change then warnings would go up accordingly.
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here in pembroke pines there was a squall line that went thru its just rain...like a afternoon rain in august
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Satellite would suggest S.Florida is going to be under the gun all night though for near TS conditions. Awesome to hear first hand accounts, hope this doesn't intensify any more over you guys.
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Gulf Of Mexico - False Color RGB Loop

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Stewart from NHC was just on TWC. Stated all northern gulf coast is gonna feel effects. Gusty winds, rains, isolated tornadoes. But he said TX is gonna feel the most middle of next week. Didn't seem unsure of their forecast at all.TX it is!
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Isn't there a recon plane inbound now?


The next mission departs at 6:15 AM EDT.
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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.
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Ouch thats more than 25knots.
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Moving east?
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If the ULL causes the current LLC to collapse, does a new LLC form under convection? What's mechanics behind that?
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Charts can't keep up with fast changes, they can help but they don't rule. ...Satelites are nearly real time, updated every 15 min.
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SPC looks like they were right about not issuing a WW for southern Florida. That's good news at least.
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Isn't there a recon plane inbound now?
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Quoting Hurricanes305:


Power just got knocked out but I'm able to blog via cell-phone and conditions got even worse. Whether or not Debby comes to Florida we are certainly feel the effects. Got to go right now I have to light up some candles man I hate power outages.


Visiting a Friend in Margate,Fl, getting hammered with blinding rain and strong gusts. Kinda gives you a scope on how big it is.
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Very NASTY!!!!!! weather ready to move from the West into South Florida.
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Wow, Stacy Stewart is talking on The Weather Channel.
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Quoting BrickellBreeze:


Most of the Blog members and the NHC discount the GFS and GFDL, im not ready to "throw" it out, just yet.


Thanks!
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IR Shortwave Loop Or maybe the COC is being pulled under the convection...
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"Moving: Stationary"

Like me before coffee in the morning...
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
well, I don't know if this storm is unpredictable as TS Emily last year or not... but I don't think I've ever seen the models so far from agreement before.
True!
180 degrees is kind of a big spread.....
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Quoting Patrap:
Gulf Of Mexico - Rainbow Loop

Tropical Forecast Points are active


In this loop it appears the outer band of the ULL
actually collides with the outflow from Debby....
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Quoting rxse7en:
If that ULL doesn't move out soon, Florida's gonna get all of the convection and Texas will get a naked swirl. :) RGB
Going back to the GFS solution.
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Quoting GPTGUY:


The NWS isn't the ones who issue those watches/warnings it's the NHC.

The National Hurricane Center coordinates with the National Weather Service to issue them. It is up to the NWS whether or whether not they should go up for a particular area of the coast.
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When will the NHC update the cone. I wish we could get some rain here in sait Aug. Cloudy all day but 0 rain
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Quoting seriousman1:


give it a rest...TEXAS


Ok pressureman... nothing is certain with this system. This could go to Florida or it could just stick with the NHC and go to Texas. Stop disagreeing with people just to stir up the blog...
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Quoting trinigal:


I know the GFS is not the *most* reliable but what do you think the chances are that this might be correct? We are moving this week and this would move right over our house :) I apologize if this has already been covered. I'm wading through all the posts as we speak.

Thanks!


Most of the Blog members and the NHC discount the GFS and GFDL, im not ready to "throw" it out, just yet.
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well, I don't know if this storm is unpredictable as TS Emily last year or not... but I don't think I've ever seen the models so far from agreement before.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It's kind of strange the NWS does not have Tropical Storm Watches/Warnings up for the coast of Florida.


You have to understand that the West coast of Florida (especially near Tampa) is densely populated, and a move like that, would have harsh replications from citizens and the governmental establishment, specially since the current track takes it away.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It's kind of strange the NWS does not have Tropical Storm Watches/Warnings up for the coast of Florida.


The NWS isn't the ones who issue those watches/warnings it's the NHC.
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If that ULL doesn't move out soon, Florida's gonna get all of the convection and Texas will get a naked swirl. :) RGB
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Quoting pottery:

Keep us posted, please.

here in pembroke pines squall came thru...rain alot
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Dealing with TS winds now Hurricanes305? I don't need you to go outside to verify. :)
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Quoting Patrap:
Gulf Of Mexico - Rainbow Loop

Tropical Forecast Points are active


Here's to hoping this thing doesn't go anywhere near New Orleans, LA.
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The "New LLC" is actually just the sheared MLC:

850mb (Surface) Vort:


500mb (Mid-level) Vort:
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(click to enlarge)
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I know the GFS is not the *most* reliable but what do you think the chances are that this might be correct? We are moving this week and this would move right over our house :) I apologize if this has already been covered. I'm wading through all the posts as we speak.

Thanks!
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492. Gorty
Quoting Patrap:
Looks to have gone null n movement

Viz Loop


Western Gulf just got filled in. Does that mean it is less dry for debby now?
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23:45
Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery

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Quoting Hurricanes305:


Power just got knocked out but I'm able to blog via cell-phone and conditions got even worse. Whether or not Debby comes to Florida we are certainly feel the effects. Got to go right now I have to light up some candles man I hate power outages.


Where are you? I'm in Broward as well (Oakland Park) and we have nothing. Also no warnings on tv about any severe weather.
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It's kind of strange the NWS does not have Tropical Storm Watches/Warnings up for the coast of Florida.
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Looks to have gone null in movement

Viz Loop
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Quoting Patrap:


It all very precarious as to track as 3 mean influences are in play plus the Beta effect from the Storms Vorticity as well. So 4 really


Understand. I don't get truly concerned until it makes landfall and I know where something is going for sure. Too many times they have a mind of their own no matter what is expected. I just always make sure we're prepared and I'm aware of what's around...
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Quoting seriousman1:


give it a rest...TEXAS


I don't live in North Florida or anywhere close to where this is going, I just think that the GFS shouldnt be entirely discounted.

For you to say Texas, is an idiotic statement, what about the FL Panhandle, Alabama, Missispi, Lousiana or Upper Texas?

Where DO you live? Hmmm? Are you the JFV of Texas?

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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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