26 June 2012
Maximum sustained winds remain at 45 mph and little change in strength is expected until the center of Debby makes landfall. Thereafter, a weakening trend to a tropical depression will take place as it moves over northern Florida, but could once again strengthen to a tropical storm after exiting Florida later this week.
Tropical storm force winds extend 240 miles on the eastern side of Debby. Tropical Storm Warnings have changed and are now in place from Mexico Beach to Englewood. This includes the counties of Gulf, Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota.
Debby is moving toward the east at 3 mph and this general motion is expected to continue over the next couple of days before turning northeast on Thursday or Friday.
The official forecast from the National Hurricane now takes Debby into the northern Nature Coast as a tropical storm Wednesday afternoon. Computer models are in agreement that Debby will move into northern Florida somewhere along the Eastern Big Bend or Nature Coast in the next 36 hours.
All of northern Florida east of Madison/Taylor counties and north Hillsborough and Indian River Counties are within the 3 day error cone.
The strongest thunderstorm activity remains on the northern and eastern sides of the storm and will continue to affect much of the state with heavy rainfall and isolated strong to severe storms. A slight risk of severe weather is in place for the Florida Peninsula and tornado watches may be issued.
The main threat continues to be heavy rainfall of potentially 1-3 inches over North Florida today and 2-6 inches over Northeast and Central Florida tomorrow. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for most of the eastern Big Bend through tonight. A Flood Watch is in effect for West Central, Southwest and Northeast Florida. Additionally, Flood Warnings are in effect for several North Florida and West Central Florida rivers.
Although the heavy rainfall will be gradually shifting east, any additional rainfall may exacerbate flooding conditions, especially in areas that have already seen heavy rainfall.
Increased swells and wave action in the Gulf of Mexico will continue the threat for rip currents and rough surf. Wave heights may reach as high as 4-6 feet along the northern Gulf Coast and near 6-10 feet along the Peninsula Gulf Coast which could lead to minor coastal flooding and erosion.
Additionally, the combination of storm surge and tides may cause water levels to reach up to 3-5 feet from Apalachee Bay to Waccasassa Bay and near 1-3 feet along the rest of the Florida Gulf Coast south of Waccasassa Bay.
More information on the Tropical Storm Debby can be found at www.nhc.noaa.gov. Hurricane Statements from the National Weather Service in Tallahassee at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/WTUS82-KTAE.shtml, from the National Weather Service in Jacksonville at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/WTUS82-KJAX.shtml, and from the Tampa Bay National Weather Service at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/WTUS82-KTBW.shtml.
Briefing Slides are attached. Another update will be issued Tuesday Evening.
Michelle Palmer Deputy State Meteorologist Florida Division of Emergency Management (850) 617-9120 www.FloridaDisaster.org