The 11 p.m. Sunday five-day forecast track from the National Hurricane Center shows Tropical Storm Debby about 110 miles south-southeast of Apalachicola.
A close up view of the 11 p.m. Sunday five-day forecast track from the National Hurricane Center shows Tropical Storm Debby about 110 miles south-southeast of Apalachicola.
Computer models have changed to show Tropical Storm Debby turning toward Florida’s Panhandle.
This enhanced visible satellite image from NOAA shows Florida covered with clouds from Tropical Storm Debby.
The latest track from the National Hurricane Center shows Tropical Storm Debby coming ashore the Florida Panhandle around Panama City sometime Thursday.
However, that track isn’t written in stone, although computer models are beginning to converge on an agreed path, and the NHC is becoming more confident in it forecast.
The NHC reported at 11 p.m. that a now stationary Debby was located about 110 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola. Maximum sustained winds were 60 mph with higher gusts. Some gradual strengthening is possible over the next couple of days. The latest intensity models show Debby nearing hurricane strength within 48 hours followed by a gradual decrease in wind speeds.
Debby is expected to stay stationary for a couple days before beginning to move slowly to the north, although some models show a quicker move to the northeast.
“The large sprawling nature of the cyclone and the blocking ridge to the north would suggest that the GFS model may be lifting out Debby too quickly,” NHC forecaster Steward said in the latest discussion report.
The longer Debby stays offshore, the longer rain, wind and severe weather will affect coastal communities along the Florida Panhandle and the west coast.
Tropical storm force winds extend outward 200 miles from Debby’s center.
Storm surge will continue to be a problem in the beach areas. Rainfall totals of another 5 to 10 inches are expected in areas of Central Florida. Some locations around Pinellas have already reported more than a foot of rain in the past 24 hours.
Tornados continue to be a possibility as long as Debby’s rainbands continue to pass through.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for south of the Suwannee River to Englewood, which includes Pinellas County. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Mississippi-Alabama border eastward to the Suwannee River.