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 ncstorm:
well of course Joe is still sticking with texas but our favorite supplier of model runs Allan Huffman disagrees..

Joe Bastardi ‏@BigJoeBastardi

Euro Ensembles indicate its operational model is an outlier in track of Debby. Many stay on west track to Texas


1h Allan Huffman Allan Huffman ‏@RaleighWx

@BigJoeBastardi Not sure I agree, there is a huge spread from TX to FL amongst the members. Op Euro is almost in the middle of the spread.
Is that the same Joe Bastardi who's still trying to cover his blown forecast for Chris by claiming the NHC fudged its numbers because it wasn't a hurricane, and probably not even a tropical storm? No, thanks. His forecast skills are no better than the average WU member's--and, in fact, may be worse due to his hubris. Which is bad, because people for some reason still actually pay him.

If I want advice on tropical weather, I'll stick with the NHC. JB should stick with bodybuilding...
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Quoting icmoore:
Pretty thick stuff coming in now I can hear blowing against the windows.


Location? (So i can post your local radar)
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Quoting LargoFl:
geez its starting
Yes and I believe the warning for both Lee and Charlotte County also
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Good Morning. I went to sleep last night in Tallahassee around 11:30 (bone dry) concerned about NWS throwing up some TS watches or warnings based on the "drift" towards the Big Bend. Nice to see that NWS finally came through for portions of Florida and I have a few bands just south of me now.

No comment on the problematic forecast. NWS is subject to the same models we look at ans this has been a tough system to nail down. Part of it is the location of formation and the drift to the North. The Eastern Big Bend is one of the "safe" zones on the Florida coast because most storms headed our way are already formed as they curve in past the Keys, they miss us, and head towards the Panhandle from Panama City Eastward.

Much easier to forecast a fully formed storm heading into the Gulf rather than one lingering in weak steering.

The loud frogs in my back yard last night out performed the models in terms of some rain for my parts................Debby remains a Florida storm for the time being.

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
So, what's going on with Debby?
Well the cone hasn't changed much and she is crawling to the North with a hair to the East. I have the COC around 87 W 27.5 N, looks stationary to me.

Debby Long Floater - Visible Imagery Loop
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
Says me


Wish casts

Everyone does it haha
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
2530. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42264
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Wow...more confusion..


Did I mention that all the "Texas solutioners" must eat Floridian served crow now? It hasn't even hit and is moving their way at 1 measle mile per hour
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting Drakoen:
The trough coming down from Canada is digging deep and eroding the eastern side of the high pressure center over the plains. The 500mb charts from the SPC Mesoanalysis show that the 588dm line has retreated westward over the past 4 hours.

The trough is also slightly to the west of where the models were indicating. Even yesterday, most models predicted the trof axis to be over Lake Ontario at this time, but it is going to drop down over Michigan and Huron
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2527. LargoFl
Quoting Sfloridacat5:
Tornado warning north Lee County Fl.
geez its starting
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42264
2526. scott39
Shes already at 27.5N. Theres not much water left to the N before she says....LAND HO!!
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Says me
Quoting weatherh98:


Says who?
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4984
Tornado warning north Lee County Fl.
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2523. icmoore
Pretty thick stuff coming in now I can hear blowing against the windows.
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
It's not changing it's mind.


Says who?
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting Ameister12:

Morning TA! Debby is up to 60mph and quite a few of the models shifted east.

Wow...more confusion..
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32858
Local meterologist thinks the NHC needs and will adjust their forecast cone.

He expects the cone to change at the next advisory.
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2519. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42264
I see while the blog hasn't updated yet, Doc or Angela updated the map showing where she might be going. And she'll be a Cat 1. I'm not liking it...

But good morning, everyone!
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lt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 233° at 56 knots (From the SW at ~ 64.4 mph)
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4984
Quoting uptxcoast:
I am going to stick with the NHC cone because they have been pretty accurate the past few years despite this blog! Besides I can't afford to dismiss it.

Best best would to have this thing move on shore quickly (EAST) and scoot it out of here. That is my wishcasting.

One thing I have learned following this blog for 7 years is there will always be disagreements right up until landfall.

My Prediction? I go with the experts. NHC track. My opinion moves with the cone.


Best Advise yet
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Video of Debby flooding siesta key south of Tampa:
Siesta Key Flooding
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
So, what's going on with Debby?


The hurricane hunters found a north eastotion at one an 60 mph winds do the floridians are having a euro Texas NHC bashing party
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
I guess what the determining factor is,
WHEN will it to be too late for debby to head east?

In other words, at what time can we say, "well, debby missed her chance to go east, west it is!"
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2512. Drakoen
The trough coming down from Canada is digging deep and eroding the eastern side of the high pressure center over the plains. The 500mb charts from the SPC Mesoanalysis show that the 588dm line has retreated westward over the past 4 hours.

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
So, what's going on with Debby?

Morning TA! Debby is up to 60mph and quite a few of the models shifted east.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5085
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Quoting PackManWx:
according to that gfs, the low is still off the FL coast on Tuesday..

looks like the GFS has it slowing down...which may mean the gfs wants to flip toward a west solution
It's not changing it's mind.
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Quoting BrickellBreeze:


It could go anywhere, because this storm has fooled you, me and the Apparently the National Hurricane Center and ECWMF


Remember that while the ECMWF is historically a great model, and still is, it isn't a "computer god" plus I think the GFS is now on equal par with e ECMWF because of it's recent upgrade. The GFS did far better Beryl too by the way.
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Quoting charlottefl:
Maybe this was posted, but new to me:






If there is a track or update from NHC it has been posted, again and again and........ : )
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2506. icmoore
Quoting Grothar:



Sure, have a good time. While your're out golfing were are getting hammered. :)


Is it 5:00 already ? :)
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So, what's going on with Debby?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32858
2504. LargoFl
she's up to 60 mph now,getting a lil stronger,those up in the panhandle start preparing folks if you havent already
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42264
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 242° at 43 knots (From the WSW at ~ 49.4 mph
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4984
What's funny is that Debby is getting stronger but it is still getting broader, my gosh. Debby's center is so far way but with the weather are having in West Central Florida you'd think the TS vort center is 100 miles to our west ;)
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2501. scott39
EURO worshipers, need to get off thier knees on this one!
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2500. Drakoen
Good Morning. Debby has gotten much better organized overnight. I think they should have extended the warning farther eastward to include the big bend region.
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Quoting PackManWx:
Even if it did head to florida... much of the precipitation would be out of there by tuesday night since the precip is mainly on the EAST side of the storm...

correct?


Way I see it if it goes to FL it should be over soon. Especially as you stated the convections on her east side.
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Maybe this was posted, but new to me:



.TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS ISSUED FOR A PORTION OF THE FLORIDA AND
ALABAMA GULF COAST...
Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2687
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4984
The shortwave is moving out, now it's up to how fast the trough digs in, can it take over from the high
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting Chicklit:
Excerpt from Hazardous Weather Statement for East Central Florida as of 6 a.m. today:
.WATERSPOUT...
TROPICAL STORM DEBBY WILL DRIFT VERY SLOWLY INTO THE NORTH GULF OF MEXICO TODAY. HER CURRENT POSITION WILL ALLOW THE OUTER RAINBANDS TO PUSH ACROSS EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA...SOME OF WHICH WILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE A BRIEF WATERSPOUT OVER THE LARGER LAKES. BOATERS SHOULD USE CAUTION ON AREA LAKES TODAY AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE QUICK EVASIVE ACTION IF A WATERSPOUT IS SEEN.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY.
TROPICAL STORM DEBBY OVER THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO WILL DRIFT SLOWLY NORTHWARD EARLY THIS WEEK BEFORE BEGINNING A WESTWARD MOTION BY MIDWEEK.
BR>...That's their story and they're stickin to it...

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...
SPOTTERS ARE REQUESTED TO MONITOR THE WEATHER AND SELF ACTIVATE IF NEEDED.

$$

BRAGAW
Maybe they're sticking with the longrange forecasts from last week to 2 weeks ago, which showed the storm getting right up into the armpit of FL before making an abrupt westward move and eventually making landfall in west TX... unless Debby is going to move faster than NHC expects, the westward solution is still very much in play. It always has been, which is why so many models have been sticking with it.

IMO it's going to be a matter of speed. If Debby drifts north enough fast enough, GFS will verify. Otherwise, on Wednesday, FL will be soaked, but Debby will be trying to do Dallas... or at least San Antone...
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2494. Grothar
Quoting kmanislander:


Good morning to you and everyone who is on

Pity I cannot stay to post as my golf game is coming up very soon but things are looking very interesting with Debby now. The Texas ridge is weaker than before and the trough over the SE is digging down just above Debby leaving the weakness open and continuingto tug on the system in a generally N to NNE motion.

I was watching the evolution of this set up from last night as the uncertainty of the West turn was evident from then. West could still happen but the longer this plays out the way it has the greater the odds of Debby getting just too far N to to anything other than exit to the NE or NNE or possibly go ashore much sooner than forecasted.

Will be very interested to see how this looks when I get back this afternoon.

Have a great day watching and waiting :-)




Sure, have a good time. While your're out golfing were are getting hammered. :)
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Rain on all of FL now!:)
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4984
GFS for the win against all.
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according to that gfs, the low is still off the FL coast on Tuesday..

looks like the GFS has it slowing down...which may mean the gfs wants to flip toward a west solution
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Gutsy call by the NHC to stick with human skill on track and intensity vs the models.

Only one intensity model agrees with the NHC, which I also agree with for now.


Can we just say it now?

The models just plain suck for these monsoonal systems...
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2489. ncstorm
well of course Joe is still sticking with texas but our favorite supplier of model runs Allan Huffman disagrees..

Joe Bastardi ‏@BigJoeBastardi

Euro Ensembles indicate its operational model is an outlier in track of Debby. Many stay on west track to Texas


1h Allan Huffman Allan Huffman ‏@RaleighWx

@BigJoeBastardi Not sure I agree, there is a huge spread from TX to FL amongst the members. Op Euro is almost in the middle of the spread.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16225
2488. scott39
Debbie is not going to stay in the water long enough to hit Texas.
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WOW, Debby is doing exactly what the GFS predicted to this point, at least up till now, and maybe beyond. Who knows, the other west running models may do a 180 and Florida may see a storm after all, via the GFS scenario.
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Also to note. This system is moving at a whopping 2mph. At that speed anything is possible.
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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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