Once again, hurricane season 2012 is proving to defy the odds -- and the odds makers for that matter. Forecasted to be a kitten of a season, it's turning out to be a wild black panther.
This week, we have Tropical Storm Debby churning up the Gulf of Mexico like butter for cornbread. She became a tropical storm last Saturday, breaking the record for the earliest fourth named storm.
"Rarely is there such a thing as the 'perfect storm', but Little Debby sent us 10-foot plus swells at 10 second intervals with 15 to 20 miles per hour offshore winds in Pensacola Beach. In our neighborhood, those are pretty rare conditions and it made for some big, fun surf. Waves were breaking out past the end of the Gulf's longest pier," reported ESPN Surfing's eyes and ears of the Panhandle region, Nik McCue.
"Sterling (Spencer) was up in Jersey with Metallica during our one day swell, but I did manage to get out and get a few shots. We just didn't have the personality and talent that Sterling, the 'Centaur,' usually offers up," he laughed.
In fact, I was with Spencer on Sunday as he was planning to catch the earliest flight back.
Right now Debbie made landfall around Steinhatchee, Fla., today, and although winds are only about 40 miles per hour (a minimal trop storm) the Sunshine State has been anything but for days now with rain and gusts. The swell is pretty much done for Pensacola. Western Florida is big and drifty. As of now, most of the headlines are of flooding and road closures.
"Despite The Weather Channel's premier storm chaser Jim Cantore's presence on Pensacola Beach, we remained just outside Debby's reach. Normally when Cantore shows up in your town ... you batten down the hatches, but this time it seemed that everyone with a camera flocked to Pensacola Beach Pier to have their photo taken in front of the huge swells that came to visit," McCue added.
The best news for the rest of the coast is that Debby seems fairly certain to cross Florida and get out into the Atlantic where she will likely intensify, bringing a fourth tropical swell to every surfer from Homestead to Halifax. You have to love an "off year."