Tropical Storm Debby makes landfall on Florida; expected to bring more heavy rain
Tropical Storm Debby makes landfall near Steinhatchee, Florida as the storm continues to bring very heavy rains on northern Florida, which will exacerbate the flooding. Not only Debby brought heavy rains, but also spawned tornadoes. Some areas in Florida have already received 2 feet of rain. More than a hundred homes have been damaged from the flood, and thousands of residents are evacuated from the flooding. The latest National Hurricane Center (NHC) advisory states that Debby has winds of 40 mph and pressure of 995 mbar; the cyclone is moving slowly towards east-northeast. Recent satellite image depicts that Debby’s structure continues to be disorganized with limited shower and thunderstorm activity at the storm’s center. Both strong wind shear and dry air have shifted the intense thunderstorm activity to the northeast of the center of Debby, and disrupting the cyclone to organize and strengthen.
Figure 1. Satellite image of Tropical Storm Debby over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Image courtesy: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory.
Forecast for Debby
Debby is expected to move slowly east-northeastward over Florida during the next few days as it is in the presence of weak steering currents. By the next 36 hours, however, the cyclone is anticipated to exit Florida and enter into the western Atlantic Ocean. Afterwards, Debby is forecasted to accelerate and turn northeastward by an increasing westerly mid to upper-tropospheric flow associated with the low pressure trough offshore of the Eastern Seaboard. The center of Debby is now over land, and weakening should commence soon. The system is expected to cross over Florida for more than 24 hours as a tropical depression. By the time it is over the western Atlantic, however, Debby is forecasted to re-strengthen slightly due to warm sea surface temperatures and light wind shear over the Gulf Stream. By the next 7 days, Debby may be absorbed by the trough over Eastern Canada as some models are indicating. Debby is forecasted to bring more heavy rains during the next couple of days in Florida and Georgia. The NHC forecasted some areas in northern Florida to see more than 2 feet of rain by the time Debby moves out of Florida and enter into the Atlantic. Remember, when you see flooding, “Turn around, don’t drown”.
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