Tropical Storm Rafael drenching the Lesser Antilles

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

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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

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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
The Southern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone season doesn't start until November 1 and there's already an extremely impressive tropical cyclone out there.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5026
Models are forecasting the strong MJO over the Atlantic basin later this month.

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Ok, once the COC goes N of PR, please, TURN OFF the Arecibo RadioObservatory.... We need some rain...

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Tropics all over the world are pretty active with 4 storms. Could see a couple storms in the Caribbean if we get a mjo pulse as strong as forecasted.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7948
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Looks impressive.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
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Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Very impressive.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5026
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Title: Bayou Corne Sinkhole Flyover
Source: Louisiana Environmental Action Network
Pilot: Lance Rydberg
Photographer: Jeffrey Dubinsky
Date: October 12, 2012

A thick slick of crude oil can be seen covering much of the sinkhole [...] oil and water can be seen flowing from the sinkhole into the adjacent environment.

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
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Valverde, why did you have to give up 4 runs?

GFS makes Rafael into a cat2 to maybe cat3 hurricane.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7948
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
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Keep on moving....

don't stop, no...

[because a pause in movement may indicate a change in direction...]
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Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
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naw just posting the models
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
May be a borderline major hurricane if it's not extratropical by then.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

Trying to set a record or something?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
The GFS shows Rafael becoming a Category Two hurricane by 72 hours out.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
00GFS OUT TO 144 HRS

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54372
517. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #13
TYPHOON NINA (PRAPIROON)
11:00 AM PhST October 14 2012
========================================

Typhoon "NINA" continues to move away slowly from the country

At 10:00 AM PhST, Typhoon Nina [967 hPa] located at 22.3°N 130.8°E or 830 km east of Itbayat, Batanes has 10 minute sustained winds of 75 knots with gusts of 90 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving northeast slowly.

Additional Information
=======================

Estimated rainfall amount is from 10-20 mm per hour (heavy to intense) within the 700 km diameter of the typhoon.

Typhoon "NINA" is too far to directly affect any part of the country.

Fishing boats and other small seacrafts are advised not to venture out into the northern and western Seaboards of northern Luzon and the eastern Seaboard of Luzon due to big waves generated by Typhoon "NINA".

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 11 p.m. tonight.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45604
Quoting GTcooliebai:
One of the GFS Ensemble Members shows a Major Hurricane in the Gulf on the 29th, of course this in fantasy land, but just want to bring it to you guys attention that something might get going towards the end of the month.

Implication: a late October / early November storm is not out of the realm of the possible this year.... amazing when early forecasts were suggesting we'd be done by the end of September...
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Quoting KoritheMan:


I'm not real fond of having that designation when we've only had a single major hurricane, one that persisted for only one advisory. Last year it was the named storm to hurricane ratio that was enigmatic; this year it's the hurricane to major hurricane ratio.

sadface
Not that enigmatic when one considers that only one of the hurricanes reached that strength while still south of 20N...

FORECASTER LANDSEA/SARDI

Who's Sardi???
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One of the GFS Ensemble Members shows a Major Hurricane in the Gulf on the 29th, of course this in fantasy land, but just want to bring it to you guys attention that something might get going towards the end of the month.

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

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