Published: Jun 26, 2012 5:00 AM EDT
Updated: Jun 25, 2012 11:19 PM EDT

A tornado watch has been extended for Desoto County until 11 p.m. tonight. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Florida Gulf Coast from Destin to Englewood.

Debby is a large tropical cyclone with the strongest winds and much of the heaviest rainfall well removed from the center of circulation.

Higher than normal waves with spray and some flooding along coastal roads are expected due to the on-shore winds associated with Tropical Storm Debby.

Lee County Emergency Operations Center is advising residents and visitors to use extreme caution during the high-tide cycle tonight from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and the high-tide cycle tomorrow morning from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., when driving on coastal roads, and crossing bridges, including the Sanibel Causeway. 

At 4:00 p.m., the center of Tropical Storm Debby was located near latitude 29.3 north, longitude 85.1 west. Debby is
moving toward the northeast near 5 mph. A slow motion toward the northeast or east-northeast is expected during the next couple of days.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 45 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected
during the next day or two.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 230 miles mainly to the southeast of the center.

Tropical storm conditions will continue over portions of the Florida Gulf Coast tonight and Tuesday. Although Debby has weakened some today, coastal flooding is not yet diminished. The combination of a storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters. The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore flow.

Storm total accumulations of 10 to 20 inches of rain are expected across much of northern and central Florida, with a local maximum of 25 inches possible.

A few tornadoes are possible today across Florida.