Tropical Storm Debby has turned east overnight and is slowly approaching Florida’s Nature Coast. Debby has slowed to a crawl and is only moving at 3 mph, which is the average rate that an adult can swim. As of the 2am advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the center of the storm was located approximately 90 miles west of Cedar Key. Landfall of the storm’s center is not expected until Wednesday evening. Maximum sustained winds remain at 45mph, but the central pressure has fallen a bit to 992 mb. Little change is expected in Debby’s strength prior to landfall. However, environmental conditions actually become more favorable for strengthening thereafter, even over land and just offshore in the warmer waters of the Atlantic Ocean. We are closely monitoring the forecast data on Debby’s path and strength after landfall for potential additional impacts Wednesday and Thursday as well.
Tropical Storm Warnings continue for all Nature Coast counties through Wednesday where winds of tropical storm force are more likely. Inland wind gusts up to 40mph will be possible, especially during times of heavier rain or thunderstorms, for areas near Lake City, Gainesville, and Ocala where a Wind Advisory has been issued through Tuesday evening.