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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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: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7396
Quoting LargoFl:



set up tells me that the high is not yet in a spot to move this storm west
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


not the 993mb part

Well, yeah...lol.
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New VDM


D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 48kts (~ 55.2mph)
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Anyways, CIMSS ADT T-numbers nailed it.

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.0 / 993.1mb/ 45.0kt


not the 993mb part
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local weatrher news here in gulf shores cting a la/tx hit?? i don't get it when the models are split....thinking more of a northward move then either east or west...guess we need to flip a coin..
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Quoting RTSplayer:



Climatology favors it going west at this position and strength.

The best model favors going west.

Human intuition and experience due to the ridge also favors going west.


The GFS solution has several features, including the split and double cyclone formation, which makes it's solution appear unrealistic.


um climatology does not favor it going west, that is why the CLP5 model (based on climatology), takes it into the panhandle
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Quoting BrickellBreeze:



2 models shifted East (GFDL and LBAR) ...

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.
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Quoting CanesfanatUT:


Is that a primarily oil or gas rig? I figure the ones closer to mid LA/LKC and TX of course will evacuate. I'm not sure how the decision goes to shut in though - I know it's not a good thing for the formation. But not sure what level of a hurricane it would take for an operator to shut in a well.


Well we drill for both oil and gas, we aren't a production platform. The position we are in right now won't allow us to leave. They are presently trying to get casing in the hole , then we have to cement, test, set a packer, lay down some drill pipe, and then get into storm position. The bad thing is we took a kick a few days ago so they really want to get this casing down and sealed before we even attempt an evac and there just isn't time.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
This is 100mph Earl at peak intensity.

The theory that it has to be symmetrical is BS

Excellent point ...
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Anyways, CIMSS ADT T-numbers nailed it.

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.0 / 993.1mb/ 45.0kt
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Debby looks trifling.
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Product: Air Force High Density (HDOB) Message (URNT15 KNHC)

Transmitted: 23rd day of the month at 22:56Z


Date: June 23, 2012
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 302)

Mission Purpose: Investigate first suspect area (flight in the North Atlantic basin)

Mission Number: 1

Observation Number: 44

22:58:30Z 28.467N 89.183W 691.7 mb

(~ 20.43 inHg) 3,224 meters
(~ 10,577 feet) - - From 50° at 32 knots
(From the NE at ~ 36.8 mph) 8.4°C*
(~ 47.1°F*) -* 32 knots
(~ 36.8 mph) 5 knots
(~ 5.8 mph) 3 mm/hr
(~ 0.12 in/hr) 5.0 knots (~ 5.8 mph)
15.6%
Time Coordinates Aircraft
Static Air Pressure Aircraft
Geopotential Height Extrapolated
Surface Pressure D-value Flight Level Wind (30 sec. Avg.) Air Temp. Dew Point Peak (10 sec. Avg.)
Flight Level Wind SFMR
Peak (10s Avg.) Sfc. Wind SFMR
Rain Rate Estimated Surface Wind (30 sec. Avg.)
Using Estimated Reduction Factor Peak Wind at Flight Level to
Est. Surface Reduction Factor

HDOB Observations

Independent Calculations from Tropical Atlantic
At 22:49:00Z (first observation), the observation was 166 miles (267 km) to the SSE (155°) from New Orleans, LA, USA.

At 22:58:30Z (last observation), the observation was 117 miles (188 km) to the SSE (153°) from New Orleans, LA, USA.
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Quoting nola70119:


Quoting Dr Masters:

. 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.




One look at the TPW Loop I posted shows it's not struggling with dry air. Trust me, that map is extremely accurate.
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Quoting nola70119:


Quoting Dr Masters:

. 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.




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.
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Quoting ilovehurricanes12:
i do not like the set up with the high!!

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.
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Quoting LargoFl:



2 models shifted East (GFDL and LBAR) ...
Member Since: March 22, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
Quoting Autistic2:
Why is the NHC set on west when the models seem split? Is it because they had to post something?



Climatology favors it going west at this position and strength.

The best model favors going west.

Human intuition and experience due to the ridge also favors going west.


The GFS solution has several features, including the split and double cyclone formation, which makes it's solution appear unrealistic.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Dry air is not a concern in the slightest. It is the wind shear. We would see outflow boundaries otherwise, which we don't.


Quoting Dr Masters:

. 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.



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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
is Debby going NE now??? Link


It looks like it to me but I am the wrong person to answer but maybe someone else will now :)
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Gulf Of Mexico - Rainbow Loop
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12z HWRF took a hurricane into south Texas

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Quoting Autistic2:
Why is the NHC set on west when the models seem split? Is it because they had to post something?

look at 310.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Looking long range, once again another GFS run is supporting Cape Verde development

So are we still going to have a uninteresting bust of a hurricane season with below average activity?.Nah I honestly think this season will have 15 named storms with the U.S being impacted more than the last few years.
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Quoting LargoFl:

It may look like the models are pointing to a West florida hit. But this map is Bias, it discludes
Half the global models, and the most accurate model- The Euro. Which all take the system West.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39055
Quoting Stormchaser121:

Wonder where that one will go


I think the next run is out at 8pm or 7pm central.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Why is the NHC set on west when the models seem split? Is it because they had to post something?
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UKMET
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Quoting txjac:


Stay safe ...would love to hear about it when it passes by you


Well i would love to tell about it as it passes by. But our communications work via satellite, so when the rain gets a going we go back to the stone age lol. I will be taking photos and will post once it's over.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39055
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here is some bouy reporting nearest the storm

http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station =kipn
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This is 100mph Earl at peak intensity.

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


Cindy wasn't exactly symmetrical.

True... Better than Debby though

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From WBPF
Watching a line of nasty storms moving through Miami-Dade and now Broward Counties. This line carries gusty winds and even tornadic cells. We will have to deal with this over the next few hours
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4666
Hello everyone! I have been watching the visible sat images and it looks like either a slight wobble to the east, has anyone else notice this?
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SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
652 PM EDT SAT JUN 23 2012

FLZ071>074-172-173-232315-
COASTAL BROWARD COUNTY FL COASTAL MIAMI DADE COUNTY FL INLAND BROWARD
COUNTY FL INLAND MIAMI-DADE COUNTY FL METRO BROWARD COUNTY FL
METROPOLITAN MIAMI DADE FL
652 PM EDT SAT JUN 23 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MIAMI HAS ISSUED A

* SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY FOR...
METRO BROWARD COUNTY
METRO MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

* UNTIL 715 PM EDT

* AT 649 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
LINE OF STRONG THUNDERSTORMS ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 7 MILES
WEST OF INTERSECTION U.S. 27 PINES BLVD TO 13 MILES NORTHEAST OF
OCEAN REEF...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 35 MPH. THE STRONGEST PORTION
OF THIS LINE WILL AFFECT WESTERN SECTIONS OF MIRAMAR AND PEMBROKE
PINES.

* THE LINE OF STORMS WILL AFFECT...
PEMBROKE PINES...
MIRAMAR...
PINECREST...
CORAL GABLES...
COCONUT GROVE...
MIAMI BEACH...
AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES.

MOST LOCALES WILL SEE WIND GUSTS OF 30 TO 40 MPH. HOWEVER, A FEW
LOCALES COULD RECEIVE STRONGER GUSTS OF 45 TO 55 MPH. THESE WINDS
CAN DOWN SMALL TREE LIMBS AND BRANCHES...AND BLOW AROUND UNSECURED
SMALL OBJECTS. SEEK SHELTER IN A SAFE BUILDING UNTIL THE STORM
PASSES.

LAT...LON 2567 8015 2566 8016 2574 8017 2572 8024
2549 8033 2545 8032 2541 8022 2554 8017
2533 8024 2535 8028 2540 8025 2541 8032
2537 8029 2539 8032 2591 8078 2633 8040
2633 8035 2601 8011
TIME...MOT...LOC 2250Z 215DEG 30KT 2600 8054 2544 8012
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39055
When do the models run again?
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Looking long range, once again another GFS run is supporting Cape Verde development


Wonder where that one will go
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

I feel like that map is a little off. There is some dry air out there, but it's not very strong and doesn't cover a huge area... Still that one black stripe west of the main area of convection is hindering her...


Dry air is not a concern in the slightest. It is the wind shear. We would see outflow boundaries otherwise, which we don't.
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Consensus??



Think we need a NOAA upper atmosphere flight...


EDIT: Having issues posting, was supposed to be a picture of current model plots.
Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2686
291. JLPR2
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Looking long range, once again another GFS run is supporting Cape Verde development



Cape Verde Storms in early July? O.o This is year is just too weird. Maybe during the peak of the season we will be quiet and then have three storms in December. XD
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
In her current state...



...Debby can't get any stronger than 60mph... Hurricanes don't have to be beautiful, but they need convection on all sides of the system, and Debby doesn't have that... If the convection can get wrapped around it can become a hurricane... If not it will be a bust, at least for intensity... Shear has to relax.


Cindy wasn't exactly symmetrical.
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is Debby going NE now??? Link
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4666
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Not sure if this is a trollish remark or not. If not, you're incorrect.


I feel like that map is a little off. There is some dry air out there, but it's not very strong and doesn't cover a huge area... Still that one black stripe west of the main area of convection is hindering her...

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Quoting weatherh98:


Temp 77 humidity 100 feels like 102


actually no when the temp is below 80 there isn't much of a heat index..temp 77 humidity 100 feels more like 82..80 with 100% humidity is only 91!



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Though Debby isn't the best looking tropical cyclone, the ULL will move SW and conditions will get better. I do expect possibly quick strengthening once conditions get better and I do expect a category 1 hurricane at peak.
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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.