TS Debby has been a challenge for forecasters long before it was named Debby. It was an amorphous blob of convection in the western Caribbean a week ago, and most models agreed on SOMETHING happening, but not on when, where, how strong it would get, or where it would go. Now that it's a full-blown named tropical storm, the uncertainty hasn't improved much.
Since this morning's post, the official forecast reflects Debby lack of motion, and now just has the storm drifting north over the next 5 days into the Florida panhandle with only modest intensification. Tropical storm warnings extend from Alabama across to the Florida peninsula, as seen below.
This of course presents a giant problem with flooding. A stationary or nearly stationary tropical system near land is a recipe for devastating flooding, and we are already seeing the beginning of that. In the FL panhandle, storm surge as high as 6 feet is possible, along with rainfall totals of up to 2 FEET. As with any tropical cyclone on/near land, rainbands can also contain tornadic supercells.
Again, the southeast US composite radar loop can be found at http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/southeast_loop.php
This will be a significant storm for Florida, and should not be treated as a non-event because it isn't a hurricane.
Please visit my Tropical Atlantic Headquarters.
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