Written by Amy Godsey, Florida State Meteorologist Monday, 25 June 2012 08:09
At 5am Monday, Tropical Storm Debby was located about 90 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida.
Maximum sustained winds have decreased to 50 mph, but some re-strengthening is possible as it stays over the waters of the northern Gulf.
Tropical Storm Warnings remain in place for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Calhoun, Bay, Franklin, Gulf and Liberty Counties and also for coastal areas of Walton, Wakulla, Jefferson, Dixie and Taylor Counties. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from Levy County southward through Charlotte County. Tropical storm conditions are already occurring over portions of the Northeast Gulf Coast and are expected to continue to impact the warning area today and tonight.
Debby is currently stationary and no significant motion is expected through the next day or so as a weak steering flow remains in the region.
The forecast is still uncertain and the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center has shifted east since last night, taking Debby towards Apalachicola by Friday. All of the Florida Panhandle near and west of the Suwannee River is in the 3 day error cone and most areas north of a Port Charlotte to Cape Canaveral line are within the 5 day error cone.
All areas within the 3 day cone also have a 40% or greater chance of receiving tropical storm force winds.
Computer models are coming into better agreement on the track and intensity of the storm and most models now take Debby into northern Florida somewhere between Destin and Tampa in the next 3-5 days.
The strongest thunderstorm activity remains on the eastern side of the storm and will continue to affect much of the state with heavy rainfall and isolated strong to severe storms.
A Tornado Watch is in place for 36 counties in Central and North Florida through 2pm EDT this afternoon.
Locally heavy rainfall of potentially up to 10-20 inches through the next few days will lead to flooding of some areas. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for most of the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend through Tuesday evening. A Flood Watch is in effect for Northeast, West Central and Southwest Florida. Additionally, Flood Warnings are in effect for several West Central Florida Rivers.
Increased swells and wave action in the Gulf of Mexico will result in frequent and strong rip currents. Wave heights may reach as high as 6-15 feet which could lead to minor coastal flooding and erosion. A Coastal Flood Warning has been issued for Levy, Citrus, Pasco, and Hernando Counties.
Additionally, the combination of storm surge and tides may cause surge to reach up to 4-7 feet in Apalachee Bay and near 2-4 feet along the rest of the Florida Gulf Coast.
More information on the Tropical Storm Debby can be found at www.nhc.noaa.gov. Hurricane Statements from the National Weather Service in Mobile can be found at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/WTUS84-KMOB.shtml, from the National Weather Service in Tallahassee at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/WTUS82-KTAE.shtml, and from the Tampa Bay National Weather Service at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/WTUS82-KTBW.shtml.
Click here to view storm related graphics. Another update will be issued Monday evening.
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