Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby

I'm sorry it has been a day since TS Debby was started and this is the first blog I've been able to issue. The storm has been making work very busy in an indirect way, but busy all the same. There may be a lot of conjecture about the track of Debby, don't let this get the better of you, and don't focus on the track! The storm is very broad and has some time to go before it gets its act together fully. 
As one can see from the satellite image above the bulk of the impacts from the storm are on the eastern and northern quadrants of the system. This is the reason the tropical storm watch was expended to include the mouth of the Ochlocknee River which includes St. George Island, FL and Apalachicola Bay to the east, and the mouth of the Pearl River near Morgan City, LA west. 

From radar composite across the eastern Gulf of Mexico we find a wide swath of showers and thunderstorms from the Florida Keys, along the Florida Peninsula, and Florida's Panhandle. 

The storm center as of 7 am was located at 27.5N, 87.0W about 170 miles southeast 
of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and about 195 miles southwest of Apalachicola
Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph and Debby is drifting northward near 2 mph.
Minimum central pressure is 994 mb, or 29.35 inches of mercury.

The model tracks are a little odd and if you remember early in a life cycle of a storm they,
are usually. The GFS has a trough off the east coast pulling the storm across Florida with
the help of a short wave off the Texas coast. The problems with this solution include the
trough axis is too far east, and the short wave feature, (see below)

helping to pick up the storm. This short wave, the large area near the Texas coast,
has been retrograding southwestward few the day, while weakening. This weak short
wave is also the catalyst for shear over the storm and as evidence by satellite during
the past 12 hours. As this short wave weakens the effects on Debby are minimized.
The storm looks a lot better this morning than it has through the life cycle so far. The
system is consolidating and getting its act together. The model of choice with Debby
has been the ECMWF

Currently the 12z run of the model shows landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi
but this too may be a little premature. Because Debby is not fully developed, has not
picked a motion vector, and its close proximity to the northern Gulf Coast, anyone in
the watch area should already be prepared.
This storm will likely become a minimal category one hurricane before it makes landfall,
and the major factors will be associated with the slow forward speed and include heavy
downpours, flash floods, and possible tornadoes. Several tornadoes were reported and
verified along southwest Florida last night. Mariners should remain in port and if you
haven't already done so, initiate hurricane tie down procedures NOW!

The official authority for hurricane forecasts, watches and warnings is the National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center, and your local National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office. 

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