Storm warning issued for ‘Debby’ approaching Gulf


MIAMI–A tropical storm warning was issued Sunday for Alabama to the Florida Panhandle as Debby lashed parts of the Gulf Coast with wind and rain.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Sunday morning that Debby was about 170 miles (270 km) southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It said the storm warning has now been issued from the Mississippi-Alabama border eastward to the Florida Panhandle’s Ochlockonee River.

Debby’s top sustained winds had increased to about 60 mph (95 kph). The storm was crawling along toward the north at 2 mph (4 kph).

Although a forecast track was still uncertain, the hurricane center said people from Texas to Florida should remain alert to Debby’s movement.

At least one tornado linked to the storm touched down Saturday in southwest Florida, but no injuries were reported.

Forecasters said Debby could be near hurricane strength by Monday night.

It was the first time four tropical storms have been recorded before July 1 during the Atlantic hurricane season since record keeping began in 1851.

Debby forced the suspension of 8 percent of the region’s oil and gas production.