FORECAST: Tropical Storm Debby Forms; Gulf Coast on Alert
Debby is expected to eventually take aim at the western Gulf Coast, but Florida is currently bearing the brunt of the tropical storm’s fury.
11:40 a.m. EDT: Isolated severe thunderstorms capable of spawning tornadoes continue to stream across South Florida. One suspected tornado is near Cape Romano, moving north at 30 mph.
11:16 a.m. EDT: AccuWeather.com meteorologists continue to discuss the track of Debby and caution that it shifting off course and heading into Florida cannot be ruled out.
11:02 a.m. EDT: Bald Point in Florida’s Big Bend region recently reported sustained winds of 52 mph.
11:00 a.m. EDT Tropical storm warnings have been extended eastward along the northwest coast of Florida to the Suwannee River, while a tropical storm watch has been issued south of the Suwanne River to Anclote Key.
10:59 a.m. EDT: Tropical Storm Debby was located about 190 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and roughly 140 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Fla. Maximum sustained winds are 60 mph.
10:53 a.m. EDT: Twenty-four hour rainfall total at Pompano Beach, Fla., closing in on four inches.
Graphical tropical update: Tropics Watch
TROPICAL STORM DEBBY
– Debby will not move much today, then the jury is still out on exactly where it goes thereafter, with its track forecast continuing to be a particularly challenging one.
– With the large amount of uncertainty that exists, care must be exercised to not look at the single line of the official National Hurricane Center forecast, or for that matter in this case even the cone, and assume that Debby is definitely is going there — it might, but not necessarily — given the extreme dichotomy in model forecasts the past few days and in the vastly different paths available via the atmospheric forks in the road that exist. Some tropical cyclones have track forecasts which are very straightforward and are of high confidence. This one does not.
– The ECMWF (European) model, in its latest run, has “blinked” first, backing off from its Texas outcome, now showing a track into Louisiana. The GFS (American) is sticking to its forecast of the scenario of the storm going across the Florida peninsula. The GEM (Canadian) model, which had been showing a track into Louisiana, now has Debby going into the Florida Panhandle. Those are “global models.” The latest runs of the two main hurricane models are split, with one (GFDL) forecasting a Florida Panhandle landfall and the other (HWRF) predicting it to be in Texas, but the latter currently being the only model to do that.