Colleagues, Debby is now much more predicable! I am sorry for the indecision the last few days, but the forces which would govern motion were so week, and still are, that it was a tug-of-war that no forces want to win. A school's cafeteria line dream - no pushing, no shoving, not even tugging or nudging. FORECAST: Tropical storm Debby is slowly weakening and with sustained winds of 40 mph, barely a tropical storm. Present location is about 40 miles off shore from Tallahassee and moving East at about 3 mph. It will make landfall tomorrow near Cedar Key, with sustained winds of about 35 mph and a Tropical Depression. Surge levels at Cedar Key and in the big bend area could be as much as 6 feet and 3 feet elsewhere. Conditions west of Tallahassee will be slowly recovering, slowly, but steadily improving with less rain and weaker winds. Travel on highways should be normal. Rain will be confined mainly to the upper panhandle east of Tallahassee and SE Georgia. That doesn't mean rain will not occur elsewhere. The Tampa area, and Orlando may continue to get far more rain and high surf and stiff winds. Even if not of Tropical Storm strength Debby will the will be close to it in its effects. The west coast of Florida in particular, and mostly in the upper half, will continue to have showers and squalls and high surf and disturbed seas - more of everything that is not wanted or needed.
DISCUSSION: Now that the distant trough is exerting influence, things are much clearer. I was reamed by a former reader, so somethings are important to keep in mind. I don't close bridges, but DOT does when wind becomes dangerous to traffic at 40-45 mph sustained wind. I do not cause or even know about and don't even necessarily agree with all evacuations. I don't know or report on loose boats or barges. Maximum winds and gusts can be 40% higher than sustained winds. So, you can experience locally much higher winds than reported. And waves and the high water mark can be nearly twice as high as the storm surge reported. So, please realize that I am not perfect (in forecasts and otherwise), and that I give the meteorologically accepted way of reporting variables, and not necessarily the worst case scenario unless asked to individually. I never try and hype a forecast or play down what are real threats.
NEXT FORECAST: Tomorrow, Tuesday morning
DISCLAIMER: The Florida State University required that I not use any FSU equipment to send out these forecasts. To comply, I have purchased my own computer for making and sending these forecasts. I have been touched by the many offers of encouragement and support that I have received. I am deeply indebted to the Secretary and the staff of the Department of Children and Families who value these forecasts for the citizens of Florida. Also to the firm Hayes Computer Systems, which set up the distribution software and is providing for the distribution of these forecasts at no cost. They are very professional and competent. I acknowledge that these forecasts are mine alone, by my own effort and initiative. I only try to provide the best possible forecasts for the community, and the State of Florida and now, surrounding states at no cost to those who receive it.
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Peter S. Ray
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