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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364. Tropicsweatherpr
11:38 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM RAFAEL INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 5A
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL172012
800 PM AST SAT OCT 13 2012

...CENTER OF RAFAEL NOW BETWEEN ST. MARTIN AND ST. CROIX...


SUMMARY OF 800 PM AST...0000 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...17.9N 63.5W
ABOUT 25 MI...40 KM WSW OF ST. MARTIN
ABOUT 85 MI...135 KM E OF ST. CROIX
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...50 MPH...85 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 360 DEGREES AT 12 MPH...19 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1004 MB...29.65 INCHES
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13272
363. Tropicsweatherpr
11:29 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
URNT12 KNHC 132322
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL172012
A. 13/23:00:40Z
B. 17 deg 52 min N
063 deg 33 min W
C. 850 mb 1456 m
D. 37 kt
E. 110 deg 52 nm
F. 172 deg 41 kt
G. 103 deg 85 nm
H. 1004 mb
I. 17 C / 1523 m
J. 19 C / 1529 m
K. 18 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 1345 / 8
O. 0.02 / 2 nm
P. AF302 0317A RAFAEL OB 17
MAX FL WIND 56 KT SE QUAD 19:03:00Z
MAX FL TEMP 20 C 109 / 19 NM FROM FL CNTR
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13272
362. GeorgiaStormz
11:28 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
The formerly dry GFS has now gone with a postively tilted trough but at least it shows rain now.

5 days:

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361. HurricaneDean07
11:25 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
End of the 18z GFS run:


Holy crap!
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
360. BahaHurican
11:19 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

48% for 40-kt rapid intensification? Holy crap.
That front better do its business.

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20686
359. SFLWeatherman
11:15 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
Perfect weather for cooking on the fire!!:)
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358. wxchaser97
11:10 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Where did that one North of PR come from? It forms there or comes from Africa?

A piece of energy comes from the forming storm in the NW Caribbean. So we get an intensifying NW Caribbean storm with a storm that forms north of the islands. I don't think something like that would happen but a storm forming in the Caribbean I can see happening.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 123 Comments: 7885
357. TropicalAnalystwx13
11:09 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
Rafael continues to become more symmetric as wind shear lowers.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30241
356. washingtonian115
11:06 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
Convection feedback at it's worst on the GFS then if it splits off from the storm developing in the caribbean.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15706
355. TropicalAnalystwx13
11:04 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Where did that one North of PR come from? It forms there or comes from Africa?

It splits off from the storm that develops in the Caribbean. Don't expect to see it in later runs.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30241
354. BahaHurican
11:04 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #7
CYCLONE TROPICAL ANAIS (01-20122013)
22:30 PM RET October 13 2012
==========================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Anais (977 hPa) located at 10.5S 67.8E has 10 minute sustained winds of 65 with gusts of 90. The cyclone is reported as moving southwest at 8 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T4.5/4.5/D1.0/6HRS

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

Storm Force Winds
====================
40 NM radius from the center

Gale Force Winds
=================
60 NM radius from the center

Near Gale Force Winds
=====================
160 NM radius from the center, extending up to 200 NM in the northwestern quadrant and up to 250 NM in the southeastern quadrant

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

24 HRS: 11.9S 65.6E - 70 knots (Cyclone Tropical)
48 HRS: 13.2S 62.9E - 60 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
72 HRS: 14.5S 59.8E - 40 knots (Tempête Tropicale Modérée)

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

System has evolved in an eye pattern since 1530 PM UTC. Therefore, the cyclone intensification rate is breaking Dvorak constraints. Last satellite fix suggest that system has slowed down and has tracked southwestward during the past 6 hours.

Environmental conditions are favorable with weak northeasterly upper level wind shear (1200 PM UTC CIMSS data, 020/7kt), and good upper level divergence southward. Currently, heat ocean content is favorable (Sea surface temperature is around 27C).

Until after 36 hours, lower and upper environmental conditions should remain favorable. On and after 36 hours (Monday), system should encounter cooler sea surface temperatures (south of 12S) and is expected to weaken. At the end of the forecast range (on and after Wednesday), upper level wind shear is expected to increase ahead of an upper tropospheric trough and system should keep on weakening rapidly. Available numerical weather prediction models are in rather good agreement with a regular track west southwestward until J+5. AVNO suggests that the system should recurve southeast ward after J+4.
This is pretty good stuff, considering it's the equivalent of April there....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20686
353. washingtonian115
11:03 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
We'll have to see if we have another warm up on the way in the U.S before October ends.That's the only way I'll see another storm in the caribbean.Because if these fronts keep coming down like this then It'll be closed for buisness.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15706
352. BahaHurican
11:02 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
Evening all.... Looks like what's left of the LLC of Patty is going to pass through here later tonight... It was overcast [mercifully] all day here, with light winds, but no rain.

Is Raphael's centre relocation supposed to mean fewer impacts for PR? It still looks like it will pass directly across the island, bringing heavy rains in the process.

And from the last blog... [yeah, I know, very late...]

Quoting MAweatherboy1:

It would technically be second most active if we get to the number of named storms we need. But really, this season hasn't been anything special in terms of intensity... lot of TSs and weak hurricanes... I'm not trying to take away from how impressive this year has been, especially with the way preseason predictions were, but we barely even had a major hurricane.
It seems to me that "most active" is a simple measure of season by storm count. Does anybody consider 1992, e.g., to be an "active" season, despite the formation of Andrew? In my mind I differentiate between "active" and "bad" seasons. So 1929 was a "bad" season for the Bahamas, but not an "active" one like 1933.... So activity forecasts really failed this year [I recall 12 being a favored number... lol]

For me the more interesting aspect of this season has been the locations where storms formed / intensified to hurricane. The tracking map is relatively bare [especially of Tropical Storms and Hurricanes] in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, while the central ATL is highly tracked... and fewer than 1/3 of the storms were named south of 20N....

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20686
351. Tropicsweatherpr
11:00 PM GMT on October 13, 2012
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
End of the 18z GFS run:



Where did that one North of PR come from? It forms there or comes from Africa?
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13272
Quoting JLPR2:


Just a messy TW in the EAtl.
As messy as "Pre-Rafy,, last week on that same spot...so who knows,, maybe we are having a busy October, to make up, for a very quiet peak of the season in Sept...
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MAweatherboy:

What the heck is that in Cuba?
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Quoting JLPR2:


Just a messy TW in the EAtl.
It is a very large circulation. Orange circle at 2 AM. If I had anymoney, Id invest in it.
Member Since: June 28, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 127
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
End of the 18z GFS run:


Starting to gain consistency for a West Caribbean storm, again.

Quoting Barefootontherocks:
It's in Scentral OK now and only severe t-storm warned, but probably bears watching.

And I saw it before you did. Neener.
:)

Don't kid yourself now. ;) I saw it way before you did.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30241
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
End of the 18z GFS run:

Lol duel storms?.I think that's unlikely to happen though.
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End of the 18z GFS run:

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 79 Comments: 7290
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Violently rotating supercell to the east of Wichita Falls, Texas. Had an insane velocity signature a few minutes ago.

It's in Scentral OK now and only severe t-storm warned, but probably bears watching.

And I saw it before you did. Neener.
:)
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He's just probably excited that if we get another storm it'll be Sandy.IMO that name doesn't sound that interesting to catch my attention.
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18Z GFS 300HR
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Tropical Storm Rafael
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As the sun sets on Rafael convection continues to gradually cover the center. This is a slowly intensifying TS, the islands in it's path will get heavy rain.


Also UoM beats Illinois 45-0!
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337. JLPR2
Rafael looks very impressive in NASA images.

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336. JLPR2


Just a messy TW in the EAtl.
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Quoting goalexgo:
I feel that its time to put forth an unofficial advisory on Sandy.

11.2 N
31.4 W
Central Pressure 1002
Winds 45 mph
Movement: w 16


What?
I am confused, there is no Sandy. There probably will be in the next few weeks but not now.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 123 Comments: 7885
334. JLPR2
Hmm... That tail is going to be a problem once Rafael moves to the north.

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Quoting goalexgo:
I feel that its time to put forth an unofficial advisory on Sandy.

11.2 N
31.4 W
Central Pressure 1002
Winds 45 mph
Movement: w 16


There's not even a well-defined circulation at that location.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30241
I feel that its time to put forth an unofficial advisory on Sandy.

11.2 N
31.4 W
Central Pressure 1002
Winds 45 mph
Movement: w 16

Member Since: June 28, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 127
Quoting allancalderini:
I would be the first one has been waiting for her ;)


Rafael is the "sleight of hand trick"...to get our attention drawn from Sandy. Sandy is the one we've al lbeen waiting for. Can you believe, she is not even an invest? Whats going on in NHC? Avila must be on vacation.
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18z at 96hours
980mb low (dual lows)
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18z at 60hours wrapping up nicely.
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18z showing a rather weak T.S. as it passes the Islands.
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from first fix movement NNE, the back to NNW on 3rd fix.
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Paul not a 40 mph storm....ay longer...maybe 60 mph
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
Center of Rafael basically keeps relocating.
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Interesting storm Rafael is organizing faster now. Everyone in the NE Caribbean should play close attention tonight IMO.
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Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 13th day of the month at 21:42Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 302)
Storm Number & Year: 17L in 2012
Storm Name: Rafael (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 3
Observation Number: 13
A. Time of Center Fix: 13th day of the month at 20:58:20Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 17°29'N 63°22'W (17.4833N 63.3667W)
B. Center Fix Location: 188 miles (303 km) to the ESE (110°) from San Juan, Puerto Rico (USA).
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 1,450m (4,757ft) at 850mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 4kts (~ 4.6mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 67 nautical miles (77 statute miles) to the SW (217°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 258° at 13kts (From the WSW at ~ 15.0mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 50 nautical miles (58 statute miles) to the SSW/SW (214°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 1004mb (29.65 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 17°C (63°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,526m (5,007ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 18°C (64°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,524m (5,000ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 17°C (63°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Levels (sfc and flt lvl centers are within 5nm of each other): Surface and 850mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1 nautical mile
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 56kts (~ 64.4mph) in the southeast quadrant at 19:03:00Z
Maximum Flight Level Wind Outbound: 52kts (~ 59.8mph) in the northeast quadrant at 21:06:30Z
Maximum Flight Level Temp: 19°C (66°F) which was observed 10 nautical miles (12 statute miles) to the SW (220°) from the flight level center
Maximum SFMR Estimated Surface Wind Outbound: 35kts (~ 40.3mph) in the northeast quadrant at 21:11:30Z
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Quoting Thing342:
Raphael is the original, Hebrew version. Rafael is the adapted Spanish version, as Spanish does not have a "ph" sound. Hope this helps.
Thanks.Anais is the name of Gumball sister right?
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Violently rotating supercell to the east of Wichita Falls, Texas. Had an insane velocity signature a few minutes ago.

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Quoting allancalderini:
Rafael is not the same as Raphael or is it?or Raphael is the English version?
Raphael is the original, Hebrew version. Rafael is the adapted Spanish version, as Spanish does not have a "ph" sound. Hope this helps.
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For anyone interested, i went to canadas wonderland today. It was 7C or so. Lines were absolutely epic, was able to get on leviathan 5 times, once on the front row, in an hour. Never ever had done 12 roller coaster rides in 3 hours before today.
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Rafael is not the same as Raphael or is it?or Raphael is the English version?
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Quoting SLU:


The center of a developing TS to pass directly over your head! What are the chances of that happening? 1 in a 1000?

Looks like your prayers have been answered ten-fold!



flooding rains to come and yet to pass
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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.