By Donna Green-Townsend – WUFT-FM
The National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center report coastal areas of North Central Florida will receive several inches of rain over the next 24 hours as Tropical Storm Debby continues on a NE track in the Gulf of Mexico. The exact track of the storm is still a bit unpredictable. Debby is producing tropical-storm-force winds and heavy rains along portions of the Northeast Gulf Coast. At 10:00 a.m. Tropical Storm Debby was located at 28.0 North and 86.2 West or about 140 miles South Southwest of Apalachicola. Maximum sustained winds are at 60 mph. The present movement is to the Northeast at 6 mph. A tropical storm warning has been extended eastward along the Northwest coast of Florida to the Suwannee River and a tropical storm watch has been issued south of the Suwannee River to Anclote Key.
A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area…in this case within 12 to 24 hours.
The combination of a storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters. The water could reach the following depths above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide: Southeastern Louisiana eastward through Apalachee Bay, 3 to 5 feet. Florida’s west coast south of Apalachee Bay, 1 to 3 feet. Southwestern Louisiana, 1 to 3 feet. The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore flow. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle and can vary greatly over short distances.
Tropical Storm Debby is expected to produce rain accumulations of 5 to 10 inches along the immediate Gulf Coast from Southeast Louisiana to the Central West Coast of Florida with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches. Given the recent heavy rainfall and wet soil conditions, these additional amounts will exacerbate the flash flood threat across portions of the Central and Eastern Gulf Coast.
Isolated tornadoes are possible over portions of the West-Central and Southwestern Florida peninsula today. Keep checking with WUFT.org throughout the day for updates.