Tropical Storm Debby Update – June 25, 2012
redOrbit Meteorologist Joshua Kelly
Gulf of Mexico: As of 6:00am CDT Tropical Storm Debby continues to turn in the Northeast portion of the Gulf of Mexico near the Florida coastline. Tropical Storm Debby formed over the weekend in the Central part of the Gulf of Mexico, after Air Force Recon planes flew a mission inside of Debby and were able to locate winds sustaining Tropical Storm status. This morning Tropical Storm Debby continues to wreak havoc over the entire state of Florida with winds, severe storms, huge storm surge and flooding.
On Sunday in Tampa Florida squall lines moved onshore and were responsible for tornados that touched down in the area. Many water spouts were also reported off the shore along the coastline with each squall line that moved in towards the Florida Peninsula. Wind reports were showing wind gusts over 60mph from many locations up and down the state of Florida.
In the Northwest portion of the state a death occurred due to high surf and rip currents that were found along the entire Gulf Coast from Mississippi back into Florida. Rip currents are the under-turning of the ocean waves after they leave the beach, they create a hidden danger to anyone swimming.
Heavy rains continue to soak Florida this morning. Some places along the western coast of Florida have already reported rainfall totals well over 6 inches. Many tropical storm warnings were issued from Louisiana all the way back into Florida due to the high uncertainty of which track Debby would take. Late Saturday night the NHC had the storm heading towards Texas and making it to Hurricane Status. However, on Sunday continued warnings were lifted from Louisiana as the storm showed signs of taking a more North track alleviating the potential of a Hurricane and also the possibility of heading westward.
Current forecasts have Tropical Storm Debby making landfall in the big bend area of the state. Winds are forecasted to remain Hurricane strength as it pushes slowly northward, however there are still some disagreements among weather models of what Debby may do over the next couple of days. Some models such as the GFS have the storm ejecting Northeast and out into the Atlantic, while another famous weather model the European Model has it meandering in the Gulf just south of Florida for the next few days. Whatever happens to Debby, one thing is for sure – the state of Florida will continue to take the wrath of Debby until this storm moves, leading the way to more flooding and storm surge.
Tropical Storm Debby will be remembered as being a challenging storm to forecast for as computer-derived weather models had this storm hitting anywhere along the Gulf Coast over the weekend. As time wore on the models started leaning together pushing the storm on a more northward track which it presently is on now. Two features that lead to this challenging forecast were an upper level trough which was moving through the Eastern Seaboard and if Debby got close enough it would be picked up by the trough and sent northward. A second scenario was for Debby to miss the trough and get picked up by a High pressure area that was moving in from the west. This was a reason behind the models thinking the storm would go westward and become a Hurricane, because of the longer time over the warmer waters. A third option was also seen and it looks like as of this morning this option might be what Debby is following and that is stalled between both features and just kind of beginning to drift slowly in and not show much forward progression and that is what has been occurring in Debby over the past 6 hours with little to no movement.