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 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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Quoting weatherbro:


It's about time lol:)



Yeah it's going to be great next week, Fall in my opinion is the best time of year in Florida if you're not looking for storm action and wanting some great outdoor action, because it's starts to cool down enough to enjoy the benefits of Florida, like fishing and the water, but not too cold yet to do much of either. The spring isn't quite as nice because everything often dries out by then and it gets kinda brown for a couple months.
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Quoting Jedkins01:
This upcoming week will be a great week for tourism in Florida, incredible weather for outdoor activities coming up with cooler fall weather on the way.


It's about time lol:)
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
This upcoming week will be a great week for tourism in Florida, incredible weather for outdoor activities coming up with cooler fall weather on the way, models are trending cooler for a double frontal passage next week.

It will be even nicer weather if you already live in Florida though, lol. I haven't actually gone to the beach in quite a long time, the water was too warm and you really don't cool off, if not that you're usually running for cover as thunderstorms approach.


The rainy season is definitely my favorite because of all the thunderstorm activity, however, I like all the season changes, and cooler and more refreshing air will very much be welcomed.
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Quoting HuracanTaino:
Rafael, a very common Spanish name....
My post didn't say anything about names being common....I was talking about the lop sided appearence of both storms.
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IMO, no question that we're dealing with an organizing tropical storm in the extreme NE Caribbean.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24457
Quoting HuracanTaino:
Rafael, a very common Spanish name....
It's also a common Hebrew name.
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This is Raphael when he discovers he's a tropical storm:)



Link(if pic doesn't work).
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Rafeal reminds me of Lee in some ways.Maybe the shape.Lee was ugly though and it appears Refeal is trying to work on his looks.
Rafael, a very common Spanish name....
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304. SLU
Quoting CaribBoy:
Yes weather is getting worse and worse over the N Leeewards


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!

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
that is one BIG storm
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AMZ101-140815-
SYNOPSIS FOR THE SW N ATLANTIC INCLUDING THE BAHAMAS
515 PM EDT SAT OCT 13 2012


.SYNOPSIS...THE TIGHT PRES GRADIENT BETWEEN A TROUGH FROM 28N71W
TO 22N75W...REMNANTS OF PATTY...AND STRENGTHENING HIGH PRES OVER
THE EASTERN U.S. WILL PRODUCE FRESH TO STRONG NE WINDS ACROSS THE
NW HALF OF THE AREA THROUGH MON. WINDS ARE INCREASING OVER THE SE
PART AS TROPICAL STORM RAFAEL MOVES N FROM THE CARIBBEAN. RAFAEL
IS FORECAST TO INTENSIFY TO 50 KT AS IT REACHES 18.7N 63.7W SUN
MORNING..TO 60 KT AT 22.6N 66.0W MON MORNING AND THE REACH
HURRICANE STRENGTH BY MON LATE AS IT MOVES N...PASSING N OF THE
AREA BY TUE LATE. COLD FRONT PUSHES THROUGH NW HALF OF AREA LATE
MON NIGHT THROUGH EARLY WED.

$$
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
I HAVE BEEN TRACKING STORMS SINCE I SAW HURRICANE PAUL ON THE NHC SITE IN 2006...THE FIRST STORM I REMEMBER SEEING...
happy aniversary?
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294. Skyepony (Mod)
OSCAT
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 191 Comments: 38624
Quoting lobdelse81:
What is going on this year in most other TC basins? Seems like while the Atlantic has had several systems this year, most have failed to acquire that organized symmetric look and have been anemic-looking. Now we have a nice-looking hurricane in the South Indian basin and it's still almost 2 months away from the start of that season. This year almost reminds me of last year with high numbers of named systems but few intense ones. I wonder what the culprit has been and whether we may expect more of the same next year or still too soon to tell?
Dry air.
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I HAVE BEEN TRACKING STORMS SINCE I SAW HURRICANE PAUL ON THE NHC SITE IN 2006...THE FIRST STORM I REMEMBER SEEING...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Wow, I check back after a few hours and find Rafael looking significantly better. Like... very significantly, he may surprise quite yet.

And Paul looks to be wasting no time, either.
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Yes weather is getting worse and worse over the N Leeewards
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Quoting lobdelse81:
What is going on this year in most other TC basins? Seems like while the Atlantic has had several systems this year, most have failed to acquire that organized symmetric look and have been anemic-looking. Now we have a nice-looking hurricane in the South Indian basin and it's still almost 2 months away from the start of that season. This year almost reminds me of last year with high numbers of named systems but few intense ones. I wonder what the culprit has been and whether we may expect more of the same next year or still too soon to tell?
not too many intense..is a good thing
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What is going on this year in most other TC basins? Seems like while the Atlantic has had several systems this year, most have failed to acquire that organized symmetric look and have been anemic-looking. Now we have a nice-looking hurricane in the South Indian basin and it's still almost 2 months away from the start of that season. This year almost reminds me of last year with high numbers of named systems but few intense ones. I wonder what the culprit has been and whether we may expect more of the same next year or still too soon to tell?
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Rafeal reminds me of Lee in some ways.Maybe the shape.Lee was ugly though and it appears Refeal is trying to work on his looks.


you're not so good spelling Spanish names...lol
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
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Wow
That 5pm position has come as one big surprise
Though wind and rain have been steadily increasing this last hour, so it does makes sense of that

Looks like we could get a very close brush, even a direct hit, and it really didn't look like that this morning

Dan

St Martin
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Rafeal reminds me of Lee in some ways.Maybe the shape.Lee was ugly though and it appears Refeal is trying to work on his looks.
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Quoting Civicane49:
BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM RAFAEL ADVISORY NUMBER 5
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL172012
500 PM AST SAT OCT 13 2012

...RAFAEL STRENGTHENS AS HEAVY RAIN AND GUSTY WINDS CONTINUE OVER
PORTIONS OF THE LESSER ANTILLES...


SUMMARY OF 500 PM AST...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...17.3N 63.3W
ABOUT 105 MI...165 KM ESE OF ST. CROIX
ABOUT 55 MI...90 KM SSW OF ST. MARTIN
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...50 MPH...85 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNE OR 15 DEGREES AT 12 MPH...19 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1004 MB...29.65 INCHES
I could see the center moving to NE a bit, but then resuming a westward track...in visible satellite..
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pretty windy here now,but feels great..........
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..pretty Big is size huh,and getting stronger
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Yes.

Prob of RI for 25 kt RI threshold= 78% is 6.7 times the sample mean(11.7%)
Prob of RI for 30 kt RI threshold= 62% is 7.8 times the sample mean( 7.9%)
Prob of RI for 35 kt RI threshold= 48% is 8.5 times the sample mean( 5.4%)
Prob of RI for 40 kt RI threshold= 48% is 13.5 times the sample mean( 3.9%)

48% for 40-kt rapid intensification? Holy crap.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32504
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
OKC063-123-133-132115-
/O.NEW.KOUN.SV.W.0501.121013T2034Z-121013T2115Z/

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK
334 PM CDT SAT OCT 13 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NORMAN HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
SOUTHWESTERN HUGHES COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST OKLAHOMA...
NORTHEASTERN PONTOTOC COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL OKLAHOMA...
SOUTHERN SEMINOLE COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL OKLAHOMA...

* UNTIL 415 PM CDT

* AT 329 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL AND
DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 65 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED 4 MILES
NORTH OF FITZHUGH...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 40 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
ADA...HOLDENVILLE...BYNG...ALLEN...FRANCIS...SASAK WA...ATWOOD...
HORNTOWN AND SPAULDING.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

MOVE INSIDE A STURDY BUILDING UNTIL THE STORM HAS PASSED.

&&

LAT...LON 3469 9651 3470 9689 3510 9663 3511 9618
TIME...MOT...LOC 2029Z 216DEG 36KT 3472 9679

$$

30
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Severe storm over Ada, Oklahoma is showing some signs of rotation, but it's not terribly impressive.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Yes.

Prob of RI for 25 kt RI threshold= 78% is 6.7 times the sample mean(11.7%)
Prob of RI for 30 kt RI threshold= 62% is 7.8 times the sample mean( 7.9%)
Prob of RI for 35 kt RI threshold= 48% is 8.5 times the sample mean( 5.4%)
Prob of RI for 40 kt RI threshold= 48% is 13.5 times the sample mean( 3.9%)



wow...48% of 45 mph increase
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting Doppler22:
Current Tornadic Warned Storm looks very healthy on NEXRAD
a dangerous evening over there tonight
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Current Tornadic Warned Storm looks very healthy on NEXRAD
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
PAUL LOOKS VERY GOOD!!!! could it undergo RI?

Yes.

Prob of RI for 25 kt RI threshold= 78% is 6.7 times the sample mean(11.7%)
Prob of RI for 30 kt RI threshold= 62% is 7.8 times the sample mean( 7.9%)
Prob of RI for 35 kt RI threshold= 48% is 8.5 times the sample mean( 5.4%)
Prob of RI for 40 kt RI threshold= 48% is 13.5 times the sample mean( 3.9%)
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Significant Weather Advisory

Issued at 3:33 PM Saturday, October 13, 2012
Expires at 4:00 PM Saturday, October 13, 2012
Areas Affected: Atwood, OK | Calvin, OK | Dustin, OK | Holdenville, OK | Lamar, OK | Stuart, OK | Wetumka, OK
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PAUL LOOKS VERY GOOD!!!! could it undergo RI?
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
265. SLU
Quoting islandblow:
I am on St.Kitts now and it seems like the storm is developing just overhead.Heavy rain,thunder and strong winds. Sea getting higher on the north east coast where I am.Flooding beginning in low lying areas.


keep us posted. how strong are the winds?
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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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