Even with better than ever technology and forecast models, tracking tropical systems is no easy project. Tropical Storm Debby is a good example. I looked at various models Sunday and they show Debby moving anywhere from the northeast coast of Texas to northeast Florida by Tuesday morning. The current National Hurricane Center gives Debby a track almost due north into the central Florida Panhandle the next few days.
Just to give you any idea of the uncertainty forecasters are facing, look at these various model projections from Sunday for Debby’s track.
First the HWRF takes her to just off the southeast Louisiana Coast by 7 a.m. Tuesday. You can spot where it is by the series of black circular lines and letter L in the Gulf of Mexico, along with a bullseye of green and blue. That’s the heavy rainfall associated with it.
The next three models, GFDL, NAM, and ECWMF push Debby to a position south of the western Florida Panhandle by Tuesday morning. The NAM is a good 100 miles farther south though.
Finally the GFS model from Sunday morning was showing Debby centered up toward Jacksonville on the northeast side of Florida by Tuesday morning.
It will certainly be interesting to see how this tropical system pans out. One thing the various models have been pretty consistent with is the strength of Debby. Most keep her power limited to a tropical storm or possibly a minimal hurricane briefly. Good luck to all who are in the path. I hope the flooding, surge, and wind is not too bad.
This post was written by Tony Schumacher on June 24, 2012