Tropical Storm Debby continues to dump heavy rain on Florida...a trend that is likely to continue today. At 7am CDT, the center of Debby was located about 90 miles South/Southwest of Apalachicola, Florida. The "official" National Hurricane Center advisory states that Debby is stationary, but satellite imagery indicates that it is drifting East/Northeastward very slowly, a trend that has continued since yesterday.
Quite a bit of dry air has been drawn into the system in the last 6-12 hours, which has resulted in a general decrease in the coverage and intensity of the rain over Florida. Daytime heating today will likely cause an increase in thunderstorm activity, some of which will produce locally heavy rainfall.
If Debby doesn't reorganize during the day today, and the dry air continues to intrude into the system, she could weaken to a Depression before making official landfall in Florida. (Remember that landfall occurs when the center of the system moves onshore - which is kind of irrelevant in this case because the effects of Debby have been felt in Florida for days now, and will continue until she moves back out over the Atlantic).
The latest Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) forecast calls for an additional 6-12 inches of rain across northwest Florida and the panhandle. Locally heavier amounts are also possible in stronger storms:
The steering currents around Debby continue to be rather weak. If she does not become fully ingested by the trough of low pressure over the Eastern U.S. (which is what caused her Northeast turn yesterday), she could continue to wobble around the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, hammering Florida with more heavy rain through Wednesday or possibly even Thursday. Time will tell for sure, but folks in this region should continue to take precautions, especially if you live in a low lying or flood prone area.
The official NHC track calls for Debby to move slowly Northward, making landfall somewhere in the panhandle of Florida. I am still of the opinion that a more Northeastward drift is likely (and that appears to be what we're seeing currently on satellite imagery), which would mean more of a northwest Florida or Florida bend landfall. Again, this is really irrelevant, as the heavier rain and thunderstorm activity will continue to spread across Florida on the Eastern side of the system anyway.
The main thing to watch now is how quickly she'll move ashore and eventually out of the region, giving Florida a much needed break from the rain. I think the next 12 hours are key. If a decent move (and I mean even just 5 or 6 mph) to the East or Northeast is not noted, I think the chances are she will continue to spin around the northeast Gulf for a few more days, dumping more rain on Florida.
For additional details including the latest satellite and radar imagery and loops of this system, please visit this dedicated page on our sister site, WeatherGuidance.com.
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