25 June 2012

Heavy rain, tornadoes, and storm surge continue with TS Debby

Tropical Storm Debby is showing once again that a storm does not need to rank high on the Saffir-Simpson scale to be destructive.  Not even a hurricane, Debby is capable of producing overwhelming amounts of rain, moderate storm surge, and the threat of tornadoes.  On Sunday, as of this writing, there were nearly 20 preliminary tornado reports in Florida, and ~10 severe wind reports. The storm also turned deadly on Sunday when a Debby-spawned tornado destroyed a woman's house in central Florida.  Tornadoes will continue to be a possibility today through much of Florida, both in the peninsula and panhandle.  The two graphics below show the observed precipitation over the past three days, and then the tornado and severe wind reports from Sunday.

As far as rain goes, that's the primary concern as you might guess from the first graphic.  Debby has already dumped over a foot of rain on the west-central FL peninsula, and more can be expected in the same areas as the storm sits stationary offshore.  Local amounts in Hernando and Pasco Counties are in the 18-20" range already over the past 3-4 days.  The current regional radar loop is at http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/southeast_loop.php

As of 12Z today, Debby is a sloppy and disorganized 45kt storm, centered about 90 miles SSW of Apalachicola and 190 miles WNW of Tampa.  The rain coverage around the storm has decreased, but there are still strong rainbands wrapping around the center.  Tropical Storm warnings cover the entire coast of the FL panhandle, and will for the next several days... perhaps into the weekend.  The FL peninsula as well as southern AL and GA can expect periods of heavy rain and potentially severe weather all week.

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