Tropical Storm Debby US Threat - No Chase Plans Yet

Not A Very Organized Tropical Storm Debby Tonight But Still A Threat

Update 11:07 pm EDT:  The latest advisory on Debby keeps her as a 50 mph storm, but the pressure is down now to 998mb making the system a little deeper. Also, the National Hurricane Center now develops Debby into a hurricane by Tuesday well south of Louisiana moving westward towards Texas. This is just a long-term outlook and things can change significantly that far out in the forecast, but it will be very important for everyone to keep tabs on Debby the this upcoming week.

A very disorganized Tropical Storm Debby continues to struggle with hostile wind-shear in the east-central Gulf of Mexico tonight. Debby has winds of 50 mph and is producing heavy rainfall across portions of central and south Florida this evening. Locations from Tampa to Fort Myers and Miami could see some impressive rain overnight and possible street flooding from training rain-bands. The last advisory on Debby had the cyclone stationary, and this will allow additional bands of heavy weather to affect the west Florida coastal counties.

Colored IR satellite image of Tropical Storm Debby pounding Florida with heavy rain and isolated severe weather. - June 23, 2012

Tornado Dangers In Bands Moving Onshore

Earlier in the day, several strong bands of storms associated with Debby's eastern circulation moved onshore southwest Florida producing a tornado in eastern Naples, FL. One person was hurt, along with several trees, power poles knocked down and some roof structure damage. Tornadoes can be common with tropical storms or hurricanes especially on the right- front side of the circulation embedded in the feeder bands moving onshore. 

As I write this post, there is another concerning embedded cell that is showing signs of rotation just offshore Sanibel-Captiva Island, and looks to near the coast not far from Cape Coral if it holds together. I wouldn't be surprised to see a tornado warning issued by 9:00 pm EDT for the area up to Englewood. Everyone should pay attention overnight to any warnings issued for isolated storms rotating onshore.

The National Hurricane Center has Debby moving very slowly in the forecast over the next few days, and there remains a lot of uncertainty on the forecast track with such a disorganized system and flip-flopping computer models. It's a big guessing game right now, but everyone along the Gulf should pay close attention going into the new work week.

No Plans For A Debby Chase, Still Monitoring

As of right now, if Debby was to take a more eastern track as a tropical storm and cross the Florida peninsula, then I will likely chase the storm. If the landfall takes place outside of FL, then Debbie would have to be at least a minimal category 1 hurricane for me to make departure plans. I will keep you posted if I plan to hit the road.

Related Post(s):

Tropical Storm Debby In The Making For The Gulf?

Impressive Rainfall Totals From TS Debby Across Fla


Tropical Storm Debby In The Making For The Gulf?

Keeping An Eye On The Gulf of Mexico For Debby

Update 5:25 pm EDT: We now have our fourth named storm of the season. Tropical Storm Debby confirmed, and a tropical storm warning has been issued for the southeastern Louisiana coastline.  Debby looks to be a very slow moving storm through the weekend into next week and will need to be closely watched.

Update: 3:41 pm EDT: It looks like the National Hurricane Center will upgrade to Tropical Storm Debby at 5:00 pm EDT per incoming data. The system remains very disorganized at this hour, but expected to be upgraded with possible watches and warnings along the Gulf coast. Previous post below.

I have been spending my Saturday so far looking over the latest computer models, current satellite loops and surface data for the area of disturbed weather in the east-central Gulf of Mexico. This system is labeled Invest 96L, but soon could become Tropical Storm Debby if the right conditions prevail.

Visible satellite picture of developing Invest 96L in the Gulf of Mexico. - June 23, 2012

Currently, there is an ongoing recon flight mission into the system to see if we truly have a tropical cyclone. Everyone has been closely monitoring this system for the last few days when it first started its very slow trek northward out of the Caribbean Sea. As of this morning it is a little further north than what I was expecting, but definitely looking more organized, at least on the eastern portion of the system, with exposed low-level eddies rotating outward on the west side as convection continues to be sheared of to the east.

Recon will give us a better idea of what is going on inside the disturbance later this afternoon, and I'll have another update here on this post by the evening. 


Intense Lightning Display Palm Beach County - Photos

Patience When Waiting for After Dark Lightning

After several hours trying to keep ahead of outflow dominate storms up in south-central Florida, I finally found my way back south into western Palm Beach County where a very impressive lightning storm lit up the Glades night sky.

Vivid cloud-to-ground strikes light up Glades region of Palm Beach County. - June 13, 2012

I started in the late afternoon hours chasing up in Highlands County, and this is where the first round of west coast sea-breeze storms had developed and were slowly tracking southeastward. The storms pulsed up and down along this boundary for several hours displaying some interesting shelf cloud structures and gusty outflow winds, but my main goal of the day was to film lightning at sunset or after dark.

Don't Give Up Just Yet

I continued to stay ahead of the line in hopes of the gust front that was now well out ahead of the main convection would at some point interact with the breeze boundary further south in Palm Beach County moving northwestward towards Canal Point. I stopped in Port Mayaca to look over radar and surrounding visual mescoscale features and was not impressed. It felt really cool and dry to me, and the outflow winds from the north were blasting at time near 25-30 mph. I wasn't sure if it was worth sticking around with everything so liner and "outflow-ish" along with the loss of heating beginning.

I stayed put for about 30 minutes watching a mess of storms develop over the south end of Lake Okeechobee, but again nothing that screamed to get out my camera's. I opened up Radarscope once again to look over the data and this time switched the radar site over to the TPBI where I had a better view of the low-level features over western Palm Beach Co. Sure enough, there was another boundary slowly tracking over Canal Point and the cells over the lake were heading right for this area.

Summer Lightning Showtime

I quickly repositioned southeastward out into the sugarcane fields east of Canal Point, and boy did I have a great view. Things began developing quickly and the sun was now below the horizon, so at this point I'm feeling pretty stoked that I might get that lightning show after all. I was back in warm inflow air and the upward motion just to my west was amazing. I repositioned again further down highway 98 to give me a little wiggle room with the storm and stopped on a dirt road about 6 miles northwest of the Highway 98 and S.R. 80 intersection. 

Here I setup my camera and tripod next to the car window, and this allowed me to remain in the driver seat while pulling the camera trigger out the window. This also kept me a little more safe from what ever might be roaming around in the cane fields and the approaching lightning strikes.

The lightning was in full on now, and extremely vivid (CG) cloud-to-ground strikes where all over my frame. I knew the updraft was just to my west and this window of opportunity to see all this visible strikes wouldn't last long. I kept shooting, and quickly checking exposures and then back to shooting. I couldn't believe the amount of CG's that were directly in from of me, and now thinking I should of setup for a timelapse. Ugh!

Keep It Safe and Respect The Lightning

I continued to shoot for another 10 minutes or so, and then the lightning began to overtake my location making it way to dangerous to continue capturing pictures. Just this past weekend a Miami resident and Pro Bass Angler was killed by lightning when fishing on Lake Okeechobee in a tournament. I didn't learn of this terrible news until just yesterday, and my thoughts are with Mr. Magdaleno and his family. 

As much as I enjoy shooting lightning photography, I also always keep safety in mind first, and have great respect when in a thunderstorm environment. Please be carful out there this summer season listening for those thunder rumbles and seeking shelter right away.

It was an amazing evening for me, and I'm sure glad I didn't hang it up earlier in the day when it wasn't looking the best. Patience and persistence.