Tropical Storm Rafael drenching the Lesser Antilles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:15 PM GMT on October 13, 2012

Share this Blog
31
+

Tropical Storm Rafael formed late yesterday afternoon over the Lesser Antilles Islands, and is bringing gusty winds and very heavy rains to the islands today. Two-day rainfall amounts of 1 - 3" have been common over the Leeward Islands from Rafael, but the winds have stayed below tropical storm-force so far. Here are some of the peak gusts from Rafael as of noon EDT on Saturday:

Antigua: 37 mph
Martinique: 28 mph
St. Lucia: 39 mph
St. Martin: 26 mph

Satellite loops and radar loops show that Rafael has a large area of heavy thunderstorms to the east and southeast of the center. These thunderstorms are poorly organized, but were beginning to show a more organized spiral banding look late this morning. An upper-level low centered a few hundred miles south of the eastern Dominican Republic is pumping dry air into the west side of Rafael, and is creating a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear.


Figure 1. Radar image out of Martinique from 11:45 am EDT Saturday, October 13, 2012 showed a large area of heavy rain over nearly the entire Lesser Antilles Island chain due to Tropical Storm Rafael. Image credit: Meteo France.

Forecast for Rafael
The shear has dropped since Friday, and is is expected to remain in the moderate range through Monday, which should allow for some slow intensification of Rafael over the next few days. Heavy rains will continue over the entire Lesser Antilles Island chain, plus the Virgin Islands, today through Sunday. Puerto Rico can expect heavy rains on Sunday, but the dry air on the west side of Rafael should keep the Dominican Republic from seeing heavy rains. Rafael's strongest winds will be to the right of the center, and islands of Barbuda, Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Barthelemy, St. Eustatis, Anguilla, St. Martin, and Saba may see sustained winds as high as 45 mph Saturday night through Sunday as the strongest bands of Rafael move through. The only island at risk of seeing hurricane-force winds from Rafael is Bermuda. The 11 am EDT wind probability forecast from NHC gave Bermuda a 3% chance of experiencing hurricane-force winds on Tuesday, and a 27% chance of experiencing tropical storm-force winds.

Rafael's place in history
Rafael is the seventeenth named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, putting this year in eighth place for busiest Atlantic season since record keeping began in 1851. Here are the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record:

2005 (28 named storms)
1933 (20 named storms, according to a new re-analysis)
1887 (19 named storms)
2010 (19 named storms)
2011 (19 named storms)
1995 (19 named storms)
1969 (18 named storms)
2012 (17 named storms)

There are two weak and short-lived storms from 2012 that stayed far out sea, and would likely have gone unnoticed in the pre-satellite era (before 1960): Tropical Storm Joyce and Tropical Storm Oscar. And while this season has been very busy for total number of named storms, we've had a below-average number of major hurricanes (just Hurricane Michael), and the total destructive power of the 2012 hurricane season as measured by the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) is only about 20% above average. See our newly-launched Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) page for a storm-by-storm breakdown of this years ACE, plus historical ACE stats for each ocean basin. Thanks go to Angela Fritz for putting this together!


Figure 2. MODIS satellite image of Tropical Storm Patty taken at 1:30 pm EDT Friday, October 12, 2012. At the time, Patty had top winds of 40 mph. High wind shear had exposed the lower-level circulation to view. Late on Saturday morning, wind shear had ripped Patty apart and the storm was declared dead. Image credit: NASA.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 64 - 14

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15Blog Index

Definitely a TD at least right now... I'd expect a renumber around 3:30 with the first advisory at 5EDT.

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 79 Comments: 7295
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
62. Skyepony (Mod)
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36085
38 CaicosRetiredSailor link is bad so here's another to JoeRomm on politics and ClimateChange
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting java162:
is there a new blog somewhere? cant believe that there is a storm out in the caribbean and its that dead on here. damn!!
It's Saturday and for many season is over. Plus in the mainland today's attention is college football + playoff baseball.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1100 AM PDT SAT OCT 13 2012

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT A TROPICAL DEPRESSION OR TROPICAL
STORM IS FORMING ABOUT 550 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF THE SOUTHERN TIP
OF BAJA CALIFORNIA. ADVISORIES WILL LIKELY BE INITIATED ON THIS
SYSTEM LATER TODAY...AND IT HAS A HIGH CHANCE...NEAR 100 PERCENT...
OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES
WESTWARD AT 10 TO 15 MPH.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER CANGIALOSI

It already looks like/probably is a tropical depression.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 123 Comments: 7886
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1100 AM PDT SAT OCT 13 2012

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT A TROPICAL DEPRESSION OR TROPICAL
STORM IS FORMING ABOUT 550 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF THE SOUTHERN TIP
OF BAJA CALIFORNIA. ADVISORIES WILL LIKELY BE INITIATED ON THIS
SYSTEM LATER TODAY...AND IT HAS A HIGH CHANCE...NEAR 100 PERCENT...
OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES
WESTWARD AT 10 TO 15 MPH.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER CANGIALOSI
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30255
Quoting java162:


relocation to where? more east west north south?
ESE. Under the heavy convection.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
is there a new blog somewhere? cant believe that there is a storm out in the caribbean and its that dead on here. damn!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RobDaHood:


Myrddin?


Just a distant cousin. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tatoprweather:
Based on sat observations, can we have a center relocation at 5:00pm?


relocation to where? more east west north south?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Based on sat observations, can we have a center relocation at 5:00pm?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


What's so funny? Just because I knew the Doc was going to make a new blog before he did. :)


Myrddin?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tatoprweather:
Rajar es mas jocoso.

lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting luigi18:
Oye Gro mira los westerlies de Raf , se esta empezando a portar Mal!


He is acting strangely.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting luigi18:

Partir!
Rajar es mas jocoso.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
the rain continues to fall in dominica..... not very heavy at the moment...in between bands but the winds have picked up.... can anyone give me an idea as to when these rains will end in my area
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


About 12 hours old but still interesting.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Helicities are already more than sufficient.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
3hr Surfaced Based Convective Inhibition



cap is breaking slowly.
I expect a tornado watch within the next few hours as this activity continues under sunshine.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
never mind
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Oye Gro mira los westerlies de Raf , se esta empezando a portar Mal!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


Rajar o dividir? :)

Partir!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
41. SLU
Raphael might be about 45mph based on ASCAT

Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4733
faster and faster crs
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting luigi18:

Nos va a Rajar en dos!


Rajar o dividir? :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

...
Since I had talked to all of these climate scientists and read the literature, I knew that climate change was coming faster than a lot of people thought. I knew it was going to be coming at this accelerated rate. So things are changing in real time, and now we’ve reached the point where the signal is distinguished from the noise.

It was always the case that extreme weather was going to be the way that most people were going to experience climate change directly—that seemed clear to me from all my research. Extreme weather is very random, but it is on top of a climate signal that continues to grow. So over time, you get more and more extreme events that are way above the natural variation.

And so yes, I think we are now seeing events that are once-in-a-thousand-year events, like the Russian heat wave. I mean, Binghamton, New York had a one-in-one-hundred-year rain event in two consecutive years! And so that’s led people like Jeff Masters to say, this is not the atmosphere I grew up with.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/ climate_desk/2012/10/climate_change_campaign_issue _joe_romm_says_global_warming_will_win_campaigns.h tml
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
Latest models have shifted closer to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.


Nos va a Rajar en dos!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Latest models have shifted closer to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Bryan Norcross
And now Rafael, another tropical storm in a not-very-favorable environment. The 17th named storm of the year is showing up well on the Marinique radar. If the center takes the most likely track over the Virgin Islands, the odds are that most of the bad weather will be on the east side, affecting all of the Leewards with heavy rain, gusty winds, and some dangerous flooding. The outstanding question comes tomorrow morning when the center of circulation is just clearing or is near the Virgin Islands. The unfavorable upper-level winds look like they will begin to relax. If it happens as the computer forecasts are indicating, Rafael will start to intensify at that time. It's a close call. So, in the northern islands, be aware that the bad weather could begin to wrap around the storm, and the winds get somewhat stronger and the system move away to the north tomorrow. Bermuda will be watching next. There's a window of opportunity for Rafael to intensify between the Caribbean and Bermuda, possibly to a hurricane... but then things get unfavorable again as it speeds away into the Atlantic.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


What's so funny? Just because I knew the Doc was going to make a new blog before he did. :)


Oh of course,
ahem.....
*ceases laughing*

One day I will match your standard of excellence. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dr Masters, there is also Guadeloupe that have sustained gust near 40 mph in it's radar
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Dr. Masters for the blog update,
Looks to be much needed islands rain event..
And thanks to AngelaFritz for the great ACE chart..
Thanks again Dr. Masters..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 7544:
raf is getting a nice round look at this hour waiting to see if he will stall and miss the weakness as the high begins to build all about timing with this one on where it will go imo thanks gro


raf.....I like that name. According to Dr. Master's we will be seeing the worst of raf later this evening into Sunday. Why do the worst of tropical cyclones keep coming through in the night? Not a complaint just an observation.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
You can still tell it's getting sheared heavily, but the core is starting to develop a more round, circular look. We'll see what recon finds.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23012
C B getting washed away

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Next recon getting ready to take off into Rafael.

goood!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Next recon getting ready to take off into Rafael.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23012
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


560. Grothar 4:20 PM GMT on October 13, 2012 +0
Thanks, Doc.


lol


What's so funny? Just because I knew the Doc was going to make a new blog before he did. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Parkay:


The first time I've been able to spend more than 5 minutes outside without feeling like I'm drowning in sweat.


Yep, its great to be able to go outside for a few minutes without feeling like you need a shower afterwards.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Gracias Doc!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
17. 7544
raf is getting a nice round look at this hour waiting to see if he will stall and miss the weakness as the high begins to build all about timing with this one on where it will go imo thanks gro
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Sfloridacat5:


Beautiful day across Florida. This is the first low humidity weekend in Southwest Fl. since May/early June.


The first time I've been able to spend more than 5 minutes outside without feeling like I'm drowning in sweat.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 64 - 14

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15Blog Index

Top of Page

About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.