The tropical disturbance is getting better organized tonight. The National Hurricane Center puts the chances that a tropical storm will develop this weekend at 80% and it looks to me that a low pressure center is forming just northeast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The hurricane hunters are expected to fly into the system Saturday to take measurements of pressure and wind that will better define what's there. As that information is fed into computer models, we might get less of a spread of opinion about what will happen.
As of this evening, the models are still split in the opinion of where Tropical Storm Debby could go after forming late Saturday or early Sunday. There are two basic scenarios and they involve the high pressure cell that will move across Texas this weekend baking the Houston area in triple-digit heat.
In the first scenario, Debby develops but the strength of the high pressure sends the storm toward Florida.
In a second scenario, Debby drifts northward toward the central Gulf while the high pressure settles over the Mississippi River Valley. That would tend to nudge the storm more toward the Gulf, but gradually.
Water temperatures are in the mid 80s, perfect for intensifying the storm. Also, a storm in the center of the Gulf would increase the threat for higher Texas tides and rip currents at Texas beaches. So if you're headed to the coast to cool down this weekend, pay close attention to the flags at the lifeguard stations.
All of the models are in agreement that after Debby develops, it will move slowly, whether it is toward Florida or Texas. So the best thing to do is to keep yourself updated with KHOU 11 and KHOU.com. We'll have the latest.