Archive for June, 2012|Monthly archive page

Debby Does the Gulf

– two left clicks will fully enlarge –

For the last few days, weak tropical storm Debbie has been slowly working her way northward keeping residents of the Gulf coastal states on alert.  A huge volume of warm, moist air, some originating all the way from the eastern Pacific (see image above), has been racing northeastward and northward into the storm’s core generating numerous alarming situations conducive to tornadic development.  The environment around her has made it very difficult for forecasters to interpret the numerous computer tracking models because there has been little agreement.

At this moment, (6-25-2012) about 2 pm Eastern time, it looks as though she will extend her stay over the Gulf well into the week and eventually work her way eastward to cross Florida and then enter the Atlantic.  Where I live in Citrus County, Florida that means we could experience the right-hand leading quadrant of the system.  It is that particular quadrant of northern hemisphere tropical systems that usually has the highest wind velocities and the greatest probability for tornadoes and significant sea surges upon the shore.  However, I am optimistic that upwelling of cooler water in the Gulf below the storm will further diminish the strength of the storm.  Typically, when strong winds skim over warm water and push it aside, that which takes its place is cooler water that “wells up” from below.

There are many factors that can cause a tropical system such as Debby to strengthen and/or weaken – the sea surface temperature changes being but one.  However, it is my hope that she does provide us more much-needed rain in a slow and steady manner so that it infiltrates into our groundwater zone instead of  traveling as surface runoff.   I hope she does decide to take that trip across Florida and that she will be sufficiently mild-mannered to be a great benefit to the region.

Enjoy the satellite view above which shows the extent of Debby’s influence this morning (6-25-2012).

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