Tropical Storm Debby is at a near standstill this morning in the Gulf of Mexico as it continues to punish Florida with heavy rain for a second day.
Its path is still uncertain, though the latest forecast still shows the storm on a direct course for the Alabama-Florida border. Some observations indicate the storm is losing strength, but Debby has been unpredictable.
Locally, residents from Awendaw to Jacksonville this morning awoke to the first glimpse of the pummeling rain that soaked southwest Florida on Sunday.
"This rain is associated with the tropical system," said Julie Packett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston. "It's the outer vortexes of the storm."
The massive storm front today could drop up to two inches of rain along the coast, Packett said, though residents in more inland locales may not see much impacts at all.
"Most of the storm could easily stay offshore," Packett said. "Charleston County will see the most impacts, but residents in Berkeley and Dorchester counties may not see much at all."
Though today's impacts will be noticed mostly in terms of rain, she said, there is a chance for isolated coastal flooding at high tide just before 1 p.m. today.
"There is a chance to see isolated areas of strong winds," Packett said. "In Jacksonville, there were reports of some isolated spin-offs and funnel clouds."
In the Gulf, forecasters said Debby was "unimpressive" with decreasing surface winds, which could indicate it was losing organization. But the storm is expected to stall in the warm Gulf over the next few days where it could gain strength and move north or make a western turn to Texas, according to the latest National Hurricane Center forecast.
"As long as the cyclone remains over water and is able to regenerate some deep convection, there is a potential for at least slight re-intensification," a Hurricane Center forecaster wrote.
Debby's path is still widely up for debate, and scenarios that suggest the storm could move out into the Atlantic pose threats for residents all along the east coast.
"While the official forecast drifts Debby toward the north-northeast with an eventual landfall later in the week, there is also a scenario of Debby drifting east into north Florida, then off into the Atlantic Ocean," The Weather Channel wrote this morning.