Tropical storm Debby which is churning in the Gulf of Mexico is now stalled out, but it is expected to reach landfall later this week. Already, the massive system is wreaking havoc in Florida as it has drenched most of the Sunshine State. The storm has Florida’s Panhandle clearly in its sights so Floridians have a lot to be concerned about weather-wise this week.
The large storm system has sparked tornado warnings and reports of twisters across Florida. One woman was killed in central Florida when a twister destroyed her home. The National Weather Service issued tropical storm warnings from Alabama across Florida’s Panhandle and down into Florida’s Big Bend early Sunday. As of Sunday evening, Debby was just over 110 miles southwest of Apalachicola and was expected to stay over the open waters of the Gulf for the next few days. Debby is sustaining winds at around 60 miles per hour but forecasters think that it could grow stronger and turn into a hurricane before coming ashore. In order to become a hurricane, the storm must sustain winds of at least 74 miles per hour.
Debby lashed Florida Sunday with very heavy rains and high winds. The storm, unorganized and unpredictable in its path, stalled out in the Gulf of Mexico and sent heavy downpours of record-breaking rains over Tampa Bay and it’s neighboring counties. The rain never let up all day Sunday. It started with Gulfport and Tampa and ended late Sunday with emergency workers in Pass-a-Grille looking for roofs ripped off homes on darkened streets. Roadways turned into rivers, prompting many people to leave their homes in boats, canoes and kayaks. The merciless heavy rains and high winds are expected to continue Monday and possibly into Tuesday with rainfall amounts in some areas predicted to be at record levels.
Up to 15 inches of rain could be dumped on Florida’s Panhandle with some isolated areas in northern Florida receiving up to 25 inches before all is said and done. In light of the recent heavy rainfalls and wet ground conditions, these amounts of rain will increase the flash flooding threat across northern Florida and southern Alabama. Debby is predicted to make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday in the Panhandle of Florida.