Forecast upgraded to “tropical storm warning” as Debby dallies

skennedy@bradenton.comJune 25, 2012 

MANATEE -- Tropical Storm Debby is dallying in the northern Gulf of Mexico, continuing to thrash Manatee County with rain bands harboring tornadoes, heavy rain and high wind.

Look for more of the same during the next 24 hours, said National Weather Service meteorologist Jennifer Colson.

Locally Monday, the weather service upgraded its forecast from a tropical storm watch to a tropical storm warning, which is a wind forecast, and means sustained winds are expected to be 34 mph or more, according to Jennifer Colson, a weather service meteorologist.

The weather service also has issued for our area a tornado watch; flood warning; flood watch; and a notice of a "hazardous weather outlook," according to its forecast, which was updated at 11:15 a.m. Monday.

Southerly winds are expected at from 28-33 mph, with gusts as high as 47 mph, the forecast said. New rainfall is expected from a quarter- to a half-inch possible, it said.

At 3:34 a.m. Monday, wind gusts hit 52 mph, but the rainfall here has been much less than that of neighboring counties to the north, Colson said.

At mid-morning today, rainfall at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport measured .29 inch; Sunday, it measured 1.89 inches, and Saturday, 1.20 inches, she said.

Pinellas, Pasco and Citrus counties, north of Manatee, recorded much higher rainfall totals, she added.

"A lot of the rain bands rained over Pinellas, Pasco and Citrus counties, and really didn't move too much over Manatee and Sarasota areas in comparison," she said.

As for Tropical Storm Debby, expect "slow movement" over the next 24 hours, with the storm drifting to the north or northeast, said Colson.

"She's not really going to be moving a whole lot over the next day or so," said Colson. "It's a highly uncertain forecast beyond the next couple of days."

Although pounding rain might stop occasionally, residents should remain alert to weather changes, as the threat of tornadoes and thunderstorms will remain, Colson said.

The forecast for today called for tropical storm conditions possible, showers and thunderstorms, with a high near 84; a 70 percent chance of rain tonight, with thunderstorms likely and a low of 79; and a 70 percent chance of rain, with thunderstorms likely Tuesday, with a high of 88,, according to the weather service.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031.

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