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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Forecast models pointing more towards Matagorda bay/freeport TX/Galveston??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Okay, sure. Debby is facing some dry air and shear - it's June, what are you going to do. But it is not going to go 'poof', model support is way to strong and we've seen gosh how many storms fight even WORSE conditions and develop.
She's a naked swirl leaving all her convection behind going into dryer air. I wish I saw what they see. But gotta go with the experts.
Member Since: February 14, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 664
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Okay, sure. Debby is facing some dry air and shear - it's June, what are you going to do. But it is not going to go 'poof', model support is way to strong and we've seen gosh how many storms fight even WORSE conditions and develop.

Agreed.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Okay, sure. Debby is facing some dry air and shear - it's June, what are you going to do. But it is not going to go 'poof', model support is way to strong and we've seen gosh how many storms fight even WORSE conditions and develop.


Lol. I feel one of those famous Teddy preaching moments coming on...
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Quoting GTAIVman:
I'm surprised about the NHC track as well.




And this is why I have a problem with the National Hurricane Center's Track. More of the North Central Gulf coast should be in the cone.
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
There is a reason we don't forecast off climatology when it comes to tropical systems.
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Quoting BrickellBreeze:


The NHC better be right, on that west track.

The NHC had always better be right. That's their job.
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Quoting rxse7en:
I've been seeing that for a couple of hours now too. I thought the llc that the NHC has it centered on was just a naked swirl. Looks like it's decoupling and forming a second llc. But, I am never right about these things and wouldn't be able to forecast my way out of a box.
neither can anybody else
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Okay, sure. Debby is facing some dry air and shear - it's June, what are you going to do. But it is not going to go 'poof', model support is way to strong and we've seen gosh how many storms fight even WORSE conditions and develop.
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:

At this point most of the remaining models indicating a track to Florida are the unreliable ones... A west track into TX/LA is pretty much a sure bet now.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7995
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:


Some west models shifted to the central gulf, I think Missisipi/Alabama may be the landing spot... With that ridge over LA, it might force the system north.
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
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Well the 18z Runs kinda made things clearer..

"Faints"
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I'm surprised about the NHC track as well.


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Quoting islander101010:
yea.but.stormtop.had.the.forecast.of.a.decade.a.f ew.yrs.ago.so.can.you


Cat 5 to NOLA?
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Quoting reedzone:
Maybe the circulation I'm looking at is the mid level circulation, in the convection around 26N and 85W.. I see it in everything but the visible.. Somehow my mind tends to make me think that a new LLC may form there, yet I look at the visible and see how strong the actual LLC is... So it's pretty interesting..



Does anybody see what I'm seeing?


I was thinking the same thing!
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:

I know, It seems as if the NHC will be wrong due to the way it looks with patterns and such, and the State of Debby. But you have to remember the Ridges to the West and East of her have backed off slightly to allow the Trough to push through which is also going to carrying off the ULL to the west of it, which might relax some of that shear and allow her to intensify into a Hurricane before landfall as the Ridge builds back in overhead.


I understand what you are saying and the good points you are making,I'm just saying IF it does go east then you can expect a lot of anger.
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
Quoting rxse7en:
I've been seeing that for a couple of hours now too. I thought the llc that the NHC has it centered on was just a naked swirl. Looks like it's decoupling and forming a second llc. But, I am never right about these things and wouldn't be able to forecast my way out of a box.
yea.but.stormtop.had.the.forecast.of.a.decade.a.f ew.yrs.ago.so.can.you
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4987
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Quoting whipster:
TX Coast: Tides are already about 2 ft higher than normal, water almost to the dune line, but yet gobs of people still there. This is WAY before any effect from Debby.


We've had onshore winds since last week sometime. From this morning's Houston-Galveston forecast discussion:

AS A CONTINUED LONG MODERATE NE-E FETCH AFFECTS THE NORTHERN GULF...WATER LEVELS ARE STILL RUNNING 1 TO 1.5 FEET ABOVE NORMAL AND WILL BE MONITORED INTO NEXT WEEK. ASTRONOMICAL HIGH TIDES ALONG THE BEACHES WILL BE AROUND 2 FEET...AND WITH THE ADDITIONAL 1-1.5 FEET ON TOP OF THIS...WE NEAR THAT 3.7 FOOT CRITERIA THAT CAN CAUSE MINOR COASTAL FLOODING ISSUES AT LOWER LOCATIONS. DEPENDING ON WHAT EVENTUALLY EVOLVES IN THE GULF...A COASTAL FLOOD WATCH MAY BE WARRANTED EARLY NEXT WEEK.
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The curse of Pinellas hits again

most of that rain fell apart, we got some rain, but not much
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363. Gorty
Quoting nola70119:


What point? Dry air is the main problem....you say little but, but Masters never refers to sheer, for example from an ULL. The problem is a huge ridge of dry air over the US, which was forecast last week in fact...


The NHC just brought up the shear...
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Quoting reedzone:
Maybe the circulation I'm looking at is the mid level circulation, in the convection around 26N and 85W.. I see it in everything but the visible.. Somehow my mind tends to make me think that a new LLC may form there, yet I look at the visible and see how strong the actual LLC is... So it's pretty interesting..



Does anybody see what I'm seeing?


Well it actually kinda makes sense given the wind shear, that the circulation may have a tilt to it. There's a lot of stuff going on near the COC. The storm has been like this for several days though, it just looks kinda odd seeing the spin from the MLC and the LLC in two different places on a developed tropical system.
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Quoting reedzone:
Maybe the circulation I'm looking at is the mid level circulation, in the convection around 26N and 85W.. I see it in everything but the visible.. Somehow my mind tends to make me think that a new LLC may form there, yet I look at the visible and see how strong the actual LLC is... So it's pretty interesting..



Does anybody see what I'm seeing?


Don't focus on mini swirls.

NHC and Brian Norcross has been saying it's a very broad circulation still. It's still in the early stages of TS formation so it's still going to be broad and one sided.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting nigel20:

It seems as if the long range predictions are coming the to fruition.
The models have been getting upgrades.
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Quoting nola70119:


What point? Dry air is the main problem....you say little but, but Masters never refers to sheer, for example from an ULL. The problem is a huge ridge of dry air over the US, which was forecast last week in fact...


The Gulf is very moist right now, dry air is not a factor...shear from the ULL is
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Quoting reedzone:
Maybe the circulation I'm looking at is the mid level circulation, in the convection around 26N and 85W.. I see it in everything but the visible.. Somehow my mind tends to make me think that a new LLC may form there, yet I look at the visible and see how strong the actual LLC is... So it's pretty interesting..



Does anybody see what I'm seeing?
I've been seeing that for a couple of hours now too. I thought the llc that the NHC has it centered on was just a naked swirl. Looks like it's decoupling and forming a second llc. But, I am never right about these things and wouldn't be able to forecast my way out of a box.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
new wind shear map still 20kt but look what LA coast has olny 5 or 10 kt




Huge high sittlng over La now.....nothing is coming or strengthening near here.
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Quoting BrickellBreeze:


The NHC better be right, on that west track.

I know, It seems as if the NHC will be wrong due to the way it looks with patterns and such, and the State of Debby. But you have to remember the Ridges to the West and East of her have backed off slightly to allow the Trough to push through which is also going to carrying off the ULL to the west of it, which might relax some of that shear and allow her to intensify into a Hurricane before landfall as the Ridge builds back in overhead.
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Only twenty percent for any WW in southern Florida. Lot of energy there that's going to train over the same area for awhile, interesting. On the Miami radar sight it doesn't look terribly imposing, but the Key West radar shows these to be storms that could continue to be tornado producers. Key West radar looks like an upside down U. Would think that setup would make these southern Florida storms dangerous.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
This is 100mph Earl at peak intensity.

The theory that a hurricane has to be symmetrical is not valid.


Don't forget Nate last year!
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Meanwhile, out here in Colorado Springs, we have major fire right at the city limits.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

That's exactly my point... Dry air is by no means the main problem, but the little bit that is there, combined with the shear on the west side, means Debby is fighting an uphill battle.


What point? Dry air is the main problem....you say little but, but Masters never refers to sheer, for example from an ULL. The problem is a huge ridge of dry air over the US, which was forecast last week in fact...
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


not the 993mb part


Pressure estimate is exactly on the border of the known margin of error range, so technically it isn't the most accurate, but still scientifically valid.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
new wind shear map still 20kt but look what LA coast has olny 5 or 10 kt


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west.squad.vrs.east.squad
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4987
Quoting washingtonian115:
This is one reason why I'm predicting the U.S to get directly impacted by at least one cape verde storm this year due to that high not trying to move.

It seems as if the long range predictions are coming the to fruition.
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Quoting ncstorm:
Why arent the 18z models for the HWRF and GFDL not being run on Debby?

not time yet!
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Gulf Of Mexico - False Color RGB Loop
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Quoting reedzone:
Maybe the circulation I'm looking at is the mid level circulation, in the convection around 26N and 85W.. I see it in everything but the visible.. Somehow my mind tends to make me think that a new LLC may form there, yet I look at the visible and see how strong the actual LLC is... So it's pretty interesting..



Does anybody see what I'm seeing?


You're thinking like the GFS when the actual center is very much dominant and not going anywhere.
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Quoting reedzone:
Maybe the circulation I'm looking at is the mid level circulation, in the convection around 26N and 85W.. I see it in everything but the visible.. Somehow my mind tends to make me think that a new LLC may form there, yet I look at the visible and see how strong the actual LLC is... So it's pretty interesting..



Does anybody see what I'm seeing?

I was thinking the same thing. It looks interesting but is really nothing.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
New VDM


D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 48kts (~ 55.2mph)

Wonder if the Nhc will wait for a wind speed estimate closer to 60 mph, to upgrade it to 60, or just hold off until the 11 pm, full advisory to intensify it.
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Quoting reedzone:
Maybe the circulation I'm looking at is the mid level circulation, in the convection around 26N and 85W.. I see it in everything but the visible.. Somehow my mind tends to make me think that a new LLC may form there, yet I look at the visible and see how strong the actual LLC is... So it's pretty interesting..



Does anybody see what I'm seeing?


The NHC better be right, on that west track.
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
Quoting HurricaneDean07:

But they were the models forecasting for a Northern gulf coast landfall, and they're aren't the most dependable models in the world either.


I don't live in North Florida, but if I did, and Debbie moved east, I would be angry.
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
Why arent the 18z models for the HWRF and GFDL not being run on Debby?
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16208
22:45 UTC
Storm Relative 1km Geostationary Visible Imagery

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Quoting HurricaneDean07:

Definately brings that storm into the Caribbean. and Most likely into the Yucatan/Gulf with that set-up in play. Though it is long range. The models were showing consistency with long range with Debby, and look what we go today out of what they forecast. Could see Ernesto, being the first Cape Verde of the season in July. - Notice how it says that it's July 9th on that image date though.
This is one reason why I'm predicting the U.S to get directly impacted by at least one cape verde storm this year due to that high not trying to move.
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Maybe the circulation I'm looking at is the mid level circulation, in the convection around 26N and 85W.. I see it in everything but the visible.. Somehow my mind tends to make me think that a new LLC may form there, yet I look at the visible and see how strong the actual LLC is... So it's pretty interesting..



Does anybody see what I'm seeing?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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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