June 24, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby Now Aiming at Florida

Tropical Storm Debby is on a collision course with northern Florida, scheduled for Monday night.

Debby has pressed far enough northward that the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center is confident it will get directed into northern Florida Monday night.

Landfall is expected in between Apalachicola and Cross City with Debby as a strong tropical storm.

Debby should then cross northern Florida, potentially passing over Jacksonville, through Tuesday before exiting into the southeastern Atlantic Ocean.

Disruptive winds in the atmosphere (also known as wind shear) should prevent Debby from becoming a hurricane, but not stop the tropical storm from pounding Florida with flooding rain, damaging winds, isolated tornadoes and rough surf.
Even before Debby became an unprecedented fourth named storm in the Atlantic, it was noted that its movement would depend on two key weather features - a dip in the jet stream diving into the East and a ridge of high pressure building over and baking the Plains.

Connecting with the jet stream would mean a path into Florida.

If Debby missed that connection, the door would open for the ridge of high pressure to direct Debby toward the western Gulf of Mexico.

The latter solution would likely have also given Debby an opportunity to strengthen into a hurricane.

When Debby developed Saturday afternoon, indications pointed toward Debby's movement being influenced by the ridge and not the jet stream.

As Debby moved into the northeastern Gulf of Mexico today, it became clear to meteorologists that the jet stream would win out over the ridge and a path into northern Florida was the right solution.

All residents and visitors in Florida are urged to follow live updates as Tropical Storm Debby approaches.

By Kristina Pydynowski, Senior Meteorologist – Accuweather.com

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