Sunday, June 24, 2012

Clarification about Tropical Storm Debby

I'd like to add a few words of clarification about Tropical Storm Debby. I pulled surge data from a few historical storms that had similar tracks and intensities to the National Hurricane Center forecast. However, I cannot stress enough that models disagree with the track and intensity of this system. Some models forecast a turn to the west, while others a curve to the east. Most forecasts include a short-term drift to the north.

In light of these uncertainties, all interests from Texas to Florida should pay close attention to this storm. Also, check back with this blog often, as I may pull historical examples of surge events for the northern or eastern Gulf Coast. I'd like to point out as well that I'm in no way forecasting or predicting surge levels with Debby, just trying to provide some historical context from storm surge climatology.

It does look like most models predict Debby to slowly drift northward, which is why forecasts keep a persistent east wind in place across much of the northern Gulf. Historically, prolonged east winds have piled up water along the eastern levee of the Mississippi River, in the Lake Borgne/ Shell Beach area, Lake Pontchartrain and even in the Mississippi Sound.

Tides are also running above normal in the Florida panhandle and western coast of Florida. Water levels at Apalachicola have been running from 2 to 2.5 feet above normal, according to NOAA Tides and Currents. Most of the rain and surge impacts with this system have occurred in Florida so far.

Check back for updates.


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