As any rain-drenched southwest Florida resident knows by now, Tropical Storm Debby is here and not going anywhere anytime soon.
The slow-moving storm has already drenched the peninsula with inches of rain and spawned a fatal tornado that struck near Venus, in the central part of the state. It also resulted in a person going missing off the coast of Alabama.
Right now, the center of the storm is still in the Gulf, roughly 100 miles south of the Florida Panhandle and moving toward the western coast on the Gulf. The track estimates for the storm predict Debby will make landfall halfway between Tallahassee and Tampa, and will proceed toward the Atlantic through the northern part of the state until it downgrades into a tropical depression Friday morning.
By far, though, the biggest threat to the storm – now with sustained wind speeds of 45 miles per hour, down from 60 mph earlier – is flooding and tornadic activity like the kind already seen throughout much of the state. While the bulk of the storm won’t pass over Naples or Fort Myers, it will still deluge Lee and Collier Counties with significant rainfall and potentially damage homes with high wind speeds and tornadic activity.
This is expected to impact the area throughout the rest of the week. A tornado watch just expired this morning for Lee County, and so far, no tropical storm warnings have been issued for the area, although the entire area is still subject to tornado watches. Those near Cape Coral and Fort Myers should be cautious at the moment because there is a heavy amount of inclement weather moving in.
Debby is not expected to strengthen into a hurricane.
Other than the threat posed right now by Tropical Storm Debby, the fourth named storm in the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, no other long-range threats are expected, with no other tropical weather on the horizon over the next 48 hours.
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