The eastern Gulf of Mexico is getting lashed by tropical storm Debby, which whipped up tornado-spawning winds and dumped inches of rain across much of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and southern Georgia over the weekend. NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this image on June 23, just after the depression strengthened to full tropical storm status.
Born over the warm, moist air of the Gulf off the coast of Mississippi on Saturday afternoon, Debby quickly strengthened to storm status with sustained winds currently reported at over 60 mph. Slow-moving at a 6 mph crawl to the northeast, Debby continues to drench the Gulf state coasts with inches of rain — up to 10 to 20 inches projected for some areas. Major flooding has already become a problem and reports of tornadoes have been coming in since Sunday afternoon.
Debby will likely become a hurricane at some point, although her future path is still not entirely known.
Launched on May 4, 2002, NASA’s Aqua satellite specializes in keeping track of the movement of water around the planet in all its various forms. Find out more about the Aqua mission here.
Image: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team