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Debby - 2000
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TROPICAL STORM DEBBY

debby.jpg
Hurricane Debby north of Puerto Rico

A strong tropical wave moved off the west coast of Africa on August 16. A broad area of low pressure formed along this wave the next day, and it became sufficiently organized to become Tropical Depression Seven on August 19 when about 900 miles east of the Windward Islands. The depression was able to strengthen quickly into Tropical Storm Debby on August 20, due to light wind shear and other favorable aspects. Debby was put on a WNW track by a ridge to its north, and it continued in this direction for most of its life. Later on the 20th, Debby began to weaken slightly as the convection became displaced due to increased wind shear. Debby continued to strengthen despite this and became a hurricane early on August 21. Despite being poorly organized, Debby reached a peak wind speed of 85 mph on the 21st, but the pressure was still at 1004 mbar, which is highly unusual for a storm of that intensity.

However, the strengthening came to an end shortly after, and Debby weakened to a minimal 75 mph hurricane as it passed across the extreme northern Lesser Antilles on August 22. The hurricane continued to the WNW and the center passed over the British Virgin Islands at about 10 AM EST on the 22nd, and it also grazed about 30 miles north of Puerto Rico that day. Early on the August 23, the shear on the storm began to increase again, and Debby weakened to a tropical storm that day. The weakening and disorganized storm turned toward the west and moved along the northern coast of Hispaniola. The proximity to land, however, did not seem to speed the weakening process, and the vertical shear remained the distinct cause for the weakening. After grazing the northern coast of Hispaniola, Debby weakened to a tropical depression just south of Cuba on August 24, and the depression dissipated hours later. The tropical wave remnant of Debby continued west, spreading locally heavy rains and gusty winds over Cuba, and Florida for the next couple of days.

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