Tropical Storm Debby was the fourth named storm of the 1994 Atlantic hurricane season. Debby formed on September 9 to the east of the Leeward Islands. Debby quickly attained tropical storm status, and nearly attained hurricane status as it moved west-northwest into the eastern Carribean Sea. Debby dissipated on September 11, just two days after forming. Debby caused flooding and landslides on St. Lucia, and produced severe weather across Hispaniola.
Debby caused $230,000,000 (1994 USD) in damage. Debby killed 9 people, as well.
|Formation||September 9, 1994|
|Dissipation||September 11, 1994|
|Highest winds||70 mph|
|Lowest pressure||1006 mbar|
|Damages||$230,000,000 (1994 USD)|
|Areas affected||Leeward Islands, Hispaniola|
|Part of the||1994 Atlantic hurricane season|
Debby originated from a tropical wave that entered the eastern Carribean Sea on September 4. Satellite imagery indicated that the wave was quite large on September 6. On September 7, satellite imagery indicated several clusters of deep convection with cloudtop temperatures colder than -80°C. At this point, the wave was located midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles. On September 8, deep convection associated with the wave decreased as the cyclone encountered northwesterly vertical wind shear aloft. The shearing became more westerly and weakened enough to allow an area of concentrated deep convection to redevelop when the wave was located a few hundred miles east of the Lesser Antilles late on September 8. At 1200 UTC September 9, a ship located about 125 miles southeast of Barbados recorded a light north wind just ahead of the system. About 12 hours later, surface observations as well as satellite imagery indicate that a surface circulation was located just to the west or northwest of Barbados. At this point, a reconnaissance aircraft was called on to investigate the system. The aircraft measured winds of 50 to 60 knots in a 20 to 30 mile wide band that was centered in the vicinity of thunderstorms about 40 miles north through the east of the center, at a flight-level of 1,500 feet.
In addition, the aircraft measured sustained surface winds of 60 mph. A few hours later, the wave passed over Martinique. Surface observations from Martinique as well as a nearby ship report indicate that, although the wave was disorganized, it became Tropical Storm Debby with winds of 70 mph. It is assumed that 18 hours earlier, the system became Tropical Depression Six. After forming, Debby moved west-northwest at around 17 knots. Westerly wind shear aloft limited intensification by displacing the deep convection 50 to 150 miles east of the low-level circulation center. Near 1200 UTC September 10, flight-level data and estimated surface wind speeds discovered by a reconnaissance aircraft were not as strong as earlier. However, just six hours later, winds were comparable to those found in the first flight into the system. Although fluctuations in the wind speed may have occured, it is assumed that the cyclone maintained 60 to 70 mph winds through September 10. Even though Debby continued to produce locally strong winds on September 11, strong vertical wind shear disrupted the circulation center, and by 0200 UTC that same day, a closed surface circulation center could not be identified by reconnaissance aircraft.
Around 0600 UTC September 11, it is assumed that Debby degenerated into a tropical wave. The remnant wave continued to produce locally heavy rainfall along with gusty winds that spread across Hispaniola on September 11. These conditions advanced westward before weakening over the northwestern Carribean Sea and adjacent portions of Mexico on September 15. Satellite imagery indicates that some of the wave's remnants may have reached the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.
A Tropical Storm Warning was issued from Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic. In addition, a Tropical Storm Watch was issued for the island of Jamaica. Due to the cyclone's close proximity to the Leeward Islands, heavy rainfall was expected for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. After Debby had passed through the Leeward Islands and dissipated, it was predicted that the cyclone's remnants would turn north into the Atlantic Ocean, or continue westward into the Florida Straits.
Tropical Storm Debby killed a total of 9 people and left 2 missing. Five people were unaccounted for and more than 100 people were left homeless by the storm. Total damage from the storm was $230,000,000 (1994 USD).
Debby produced heavy rainfall on the island of Martinique, reaching as high as 7.2 inches. In addition, winds gusted as high as 90 mph. Debby left about 200,000 residents without electricity on Martinique. In addition, the cyclone produced moderate tree damage on the island. In St. Lucia, heavy rainfall from Debby caused several landslides that killed four people and injured more than 600 others. The landslides blocked main roads and closed an airport. Also, flooding was reported in Anse La Raye. Debby's strong winds damaged much of the banana crop in St. Lucia and Martinique.
In Puerto Rico, Debby produced 38 knot winds, and caused around $50,000 (1994 USD) in damage along the coast. Also, high seas from Debby stranded a ferry.
In the Dominican Republic, Debby a weather station recorded a gust of 63 mph, although Debby had been downgraded to a tropical wave as this was recorded. Debby's remnants also caused isolated flooding in the country. In addition, there were three fatalities in the country, all from electrocutions.
Lack of Retirement
Because damage was not significant, the name Debby was not retired in the Spring of 1995 by the World Meteorological Organization. It has since been used during the 2000 Atlantic hurricane season as well as the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season. It is on the list of names to be used for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.