Thursday, June 28, 2012Debby Loses Tropical Characteristics and Continues to Move Away from US Land…Flood Warnings are in Effect for many North Florida Rivers…South Florida May Have Scattered Thunderstorms…Moderate Risk of Rip Currents for Northeast Florida Beaches

Updated 10:15 AM EDT ThursdayDebby lost tropical characteristics Wednesday afternoon and is far off the Florida Coast in the Atlantic. Debby is moving northeast at 15 to 20 mph and is forecast to stay well off the U.S. coastline. However a cold front trailing from Debby’s remnants may bring scattered thunderstorms to South Florida. Some storms may be strong, producing frequent lightning, gusty winds, and heavy rainfall.

Elsewhere, a tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic Ocean has a 10% chance of tropical cyclone development within the next 48 hours. For more information from the National Hurricane Center, click here.

Flood IconFlood Warnings are in effect for several North Florida and West Central Florida rivers, as well as land areas in eastern Franklin, Wakulla, southwestern Jefferson, southeastern Liberty, northern Dixie, Lafayette, and Taylor Counties.

Flooding remains our major concern. At this time, the St. Marks, Sopchoppy, Anclote, and Little Manatee Rivers, as well as the Suwannee River at White Springs, St. Marys River at MacClenny, and North Fork Black Creek at Middleburg have crested, but many others are forecast to crest through the weekend.

The St. Mary’s River broke the previous record of 23.2 feet and Black Creek crested just below the record level at 25.11 feet. The upper Suwannee River at White Springs crested this afternoon, while the rest of the Upper Suwannee River and Upper Santa Fe Rivers are forecast to crest in major flood stage between Friday and Sunday. The Santa Fe River will be slower to recede and many areas will stay in major or moderate flood stage through next week.

Remember, if you encounter a flooded roadway, Turn Around Don’t Drown (TADD). More than half of all flood related fatalities occur from drowning vehicles.

A moderate risk of rip currents exists for Northeast Florida Beaches due to breezy westerly winds. Dangerous and life-threatening rip currents can develop anywhere at any time and anyone who plans to enter the surf should look for warning signs or flags posted by local lifeguards before entering the water. Everyone should check their local rip current forecast and learn how to escape a rip current before going to their beach destination.

High temperatures and dry air will keep an elevated risk of wildfires for the Panhandle and several North Florida counties north of I-10. Everyone is urged to exercise extreme care with respect to outdoor activities that could cause wildfires.