26 June 2012

Stubborn Debby barely moving

Tropical Storm Debby remains disorganized with very little deep convection near the center, but as history has taught us, even a weak tropical storm is capable of being destructive.

By far, the biggest issue associated with Debby is the rainfall, as expected.  Parts of the Florida panhandle have received nearly 25" of rain in the past few days (much of that came in in the past day), but the bulk of Florida has gotten 6" or more.  To add to that, an additional 3-6" is expected over northeastern FL in the coming few days.  The two plots below show the observed precipitation over the past 5 days, while the one below shows the forecast precipitation over the next 5 days.

As of 12Z today (8am EDT), Tropical Storm Debby has peak sustained winds of 40kts and a 991mb central pressure.  It's centered about 85 miles west of Cedar Key, FL and drifting east at 3kts.  It is expected to come ashore on Wednesday morning between Apalachicola and Tampa as a tropical storm. 

Again, the biggest threat will be additional heavy rain, and the exact timing and location of landfall makes little difference.  As far a storm surge goes, some areas in western FL could see up to 6' above normal tidal levels, particularly in Waccasassa Bay, Withlacoochee Bay, Crystal Bay, and Homosassa Bay.  You can find additional details and maps of storm surge products at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at4+shtml/090410.shtml?gm_esurge#contents

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