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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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

LOL. Right.
I know right?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

None of the models develop it.
Neither they develop Patty.not saying this will develop though.
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Quoting goalexgo:
A big part of our drought-busting potential is via tropical systems. This year, we lost many promising systems to the dry air in the east atlantic.

wouldnt it make sense to consider the following next year:

At a depth, detomating a nuclear device directly in the path of a developing system. The intent here would be to heat the water at the surface to 100+ degrees. This should help the system overcome some of the other inhibiting factors in its development. More of these systems could then reach the conus and deliver the needed precipitation.

While good in theory, water temperatures aren't everything. Besides, I don't know how much such a device would be able to warm the subsurface, which is what really counts.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
Also:


Yeah, all the girls at work seem to think so too. ;)

LOL. Right.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


Neither my name. My mom's and uncle's name are there. In fact, Hurricane Maria, that's my mom's name

any chance "jack" will be on there (my name)
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Good evening. I hope the Islands that needed the rain are getting some from Rafael. It has been cooler and dry here in the Florida Keys. Lovely weather.
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A big part of our drought-busting potential is via tropical systems. This year, we lost many promising systems to the dry air in the east atlantic.

wouldnt it make sense to consider the following next year:

At a depth, detomating a nuclear device directly in the path of a developing system. The intent here would be to heat the water at the surface to 100+ degrees. This should help the system overcome some of the other inhibiting factors in its development. More of these systems could then reach the conus and deliver the needed precipitation.

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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


No way...other than some surf and or rip currents...

really not happy about missing out on a big storm now call me a "NE wishcaster" or whatever but i want a storm so dang bad
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
You are the man! Yeah I was hoping for one of those classic, long track Cape Verde Hurricanes like Igor, but Michael was impressive, and look at the bright side we got passed Nadine which is the first time this list has made it passed the "N" storm.

Hey GT! How did you enjoy West Indies win over Sri Lanka?
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Also:


Quoting GTcooliebai:
You are the man!
Yeah, all the girls at work seem to think so too. ;)
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
look at the bright side we got passed Nadine which is the first time this list has made it passed the "N" storm.
I know. It's trying. I know it is. But really, we can't expect everything from this list, now can we?
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
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Quoting KoritheMan:
I told you I would do it...

You are the man! Yeah I was hoping for one of those classic, long track Cape Verde Hurricanes like Igor, but Michael was impressive, and look at the bright side we got passed Nadine which is the first time this list has made it passed the "N" storm.
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Good evening fellow bloggers...our friends in the eastern Caribbean are getting quite a bit of drenching from Rafael.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


that is supposed to be the next thing...a long tracking storm?


The only model tracking it right now is Bar Rafaeli. She has always been interested in hurricanes.

Thats good enough for me. Im expecting at least orange on the next advisory.
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Quoting wxchaser97:

I am too lazy to do so.
Exactly.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

It was a major hurricane for two advisories, boy!
Whatever. Close enough. It's a bad sign when your lone major hurricane doesn't generate the highest ACE total.
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Banding is beginning to develop to the south.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Quoting KoritheMan:

I didn't see you volunteer.

I am too lazy to do so.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7972
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

It was a major hurricane for two advisories, boy!
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802

Quoting wxchaser97:

It only took you like one day or so.

I didn't see you volunteer.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
I told you I would do it...



YES!!!.... i thought i was the only one thinking it (TMNT Pic)
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Quoting KoritheMan:
I told you I would do it...


It only took you like one day or so.

Quoting 7544:
up up and away he goes next plz hope future sandy will be more exciting lol

Rafael could very well become a good sized/strengthen hurricane.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7972
440. 7544
up up and away he goes next plz hope future sandy will be more exciting lol
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439. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #73
TYPHOON PRAPIROON (T1221)
9:00 AM JST October 14 2012
================================

SUBJECT: Category Three Typhoon In Sea South Of Japan

At 0:00 AM UTC, Typhoon Prapiroon (950 hPa) located at 22.0N 130.8E has 10 minute sustained winds of 75 knots with gusts of 105 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving northeast slowly.

Dvorak Intensity: T4.5

Storm Force Winds
=================
100 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
270 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
=======================

24 HRS: 22.5N 131.0E - 75 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) - Sea South Of Japan
48 HRS: 22.7N 129.6E - 75 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) - Sea South Of Okinawa
72 HRS: 23.7N 128.0E - 75 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) - Sea South Of Okinawa
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438. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #8
CYCLONE TROPICAL ANAIS (01-20122013)
4:30 AM RET October 14 2012
==========================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Anais (977 hPa) located at 10.9S 66.8E has 10 minute sustained winds of 65 with gusts of 90. The cyclone is reported as moving southwest at 9 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T4.0/4.5/W0.5/6 HRS

Hurricane Force Winds
====================
20 NM radius from the center

Storm Force Winds
====================
30 NM radius from the center extending up to 40 NM radius from the center in the western semi-circle

Gale Force Winds
=================
40 NM radius from the center extending up to 60 NM radius from the center in the southern semi-circle

Near Gale Force Winds
=====================
100 NM radius from the center, extending up to 200 NM in the southeastern quadrant and up to 260 NM in the southwestern quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
========================

24 HRS: 12.6S 64.5E - 55 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
48 HRS: 13.9S 61.4E - 45 knots (Tempête Tropicale Modérée)
72 HRS: 15.2S 58.1E - 35 knots (Tempête Tropicale Modérée)

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

The eye has temporarily disappeared on the last satellite infra-red animated pictures.

Environmental conditions are still favorable with weak northeasterly upper level wind-shear (18:00 PM UTC CIMSS data, 030/10kt), and good upper level divergence southward. Currently, heat ocean content is favorable (Sea surface temperature is around 27C).

System is expected to keep on tracking up to Wednesday west southwestward on the northern edge of the subtropical high pressures in the mid-troposphere.

For the next 24 hours, environmental conditions should remain good, in the lower and upper levels. System should hold its outflow channel southward. According to recent evolution of intensity, the intensity forecast for the next 24 hours has been revised downward, but intensity should fluctuate within this forecast period.

On and after Monday, system should encounter cooler sea surface temperatures (south of 12S). Monday and Tuesday, system is expected to weaken rather slowly, and winds should remain strong in the southern semi-circle, due to the gradient efect with the subtropical anticyclone. On Wednesday, upper level northwesterly wind shear is expected to increase sharply ahead of an upper tropospheric trough and system should weaken more rapidly.

At the end of the forecast range, on Thursday, the residual low should recurve southward, at the western extremity of the subtropical anticyclone.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Sandy and Tony on the 18z run of the GFS. I say bring it on, lets use up the list, make it the 2nd most active on record.



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
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I told you I would do it...

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Sandy and Tony on the 18z run of the GFS. I say bring it on, lets use up the list, make it the 2nd most active on record.

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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Anyone knows if this storm could threat NE US?? if at all?


No way...other than some surf and or rip currents...
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Anyone knows if this storm could threat NE US?? if at all?


Won't directly impact the US. We'll have to see about Canada.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:

Hey Kori...have you done a blog update yet? For the short-term...I forecast Rafael to bend more west than the NHC does due to the strength of the NE US mid-level to surface ridge. Do you think so?

Your intensity forecast is awfully low, especially considering the model consensus keeps climbing.

It appears Rafael may become a borderline Cat. 2.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Anyone knows if this storm could threat NE US?? if at all?
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting NCHurricane2009:

Hey Kori...have you done a blog update yet? For the short-term...I forecast Rafael to bend more west than the NHC does due to the strength of the NE US mid-level to surface ridge. Do you think so?


Doing one now. I'll get back to you on that.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:

I know my name will never be on the NHC list...because the names that are chosen are not from my ethnic background...


Ok, now I gotta know what it is. :)
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:

I know my name will never be on the NHC list...because the names that are chosen are not from my ethnic background...


Neither my name. My mom's and uncle's name are there. In fact, Hurricane Maria, that's my mom's name
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting KoritheMan:


You sound disappointed. :D

Hey Kori...have you done a blog update yet? For the short-term...I forecast Rafael to bend more west than the NHC does due to the strength of the NE US mid-level to surface ridge. Do you think so?
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Quoting SherwoodSpirit:


Valerie -> Me!

I know my name will never be on the NHC list...because the names that are chosen are not from my ethnic background...
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Quoting SherwoodSpirit:


Valerie -> Me!


and William...The Prince in England...lol
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting CybrTeddy:
If, and I mean if, Rafael can manage to align itself with the trough that is re-curving it just right it may try to do something similar to Hurricane Ophelia last year. I recall Ophelia in a similar position, and it was predicted to only be a Category 1 at peak, it went on to become a Category 4.

What happened with Ophelia is she got major upper outflow enhancement into a large NE Atlantic upper trough and a dissipating upper vortex north of the Caribean. I don't see that same upper wind setup in the computer model runs of Rafael...
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Tropical Storm Paul:

Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting NCHurricane2009:
This is the first time we've made it to anything past Nadine on this list of names. I wonder if we'll make it to Tony...or even further. I like some of the names we are starting to get through..for example:

Oscar -> The Grouch from Sesame Street
Patty -> Hamburgers
Rafael -> Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Tony -> Frosted flakes...they're more than good...they're great!


Valerie -> Me!
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Honestly I think Paul looks like between 50-60 mph, at 55 mph but they can't use that one...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting KoritheMan:


You sound disappointed. :D

Maybe a bit. A tornado at this time of night wouldn't exactly be the best thing in the world, but this storm is really wussing out right now.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
If, and I mean if, Rafael can manage to align itself with the trough that is re-curving it just right it may try to do something similar to Hurricane Ophelia last year. I recall Ophelia in a similar position, and it was predicted to only be a Category 1 at peak, it went on to become a Category 4.


I think of Colin...but don't know why. Yeah Ophelia's intensity was very unexpected and she was the strongest hurricane of 2011 too.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting 1900hurricane:
Wow, this storm is really dying on me.



You sound disappointed. :D
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
PAUL...
EP, 16, 2012101400, , BEST, 0, 141N, 1136W, 45, 1001, L

that's it??? just 50 mph...


I'd say that's pretty impressive after just two advisories.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:

Looks are deceiving...its just a t-wave being enhanced by divergent upper winds on the SE Half of an upper vortex...the same upper vortex shearing it.

Now if upper ridging develops over the wave in response to latent heat release of the t-storms...then it becomes a different animal...


that's absolutely right...although I should see a yellow circle on this in the upcoming TWO's...if at all.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873

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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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