Rafael intensifying, but is pulling away from the Lesser Antilles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:55 PM GMT on October 14, 2012

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Tropical Storm Rafael is intensifying, but is headed northwards away from the Lesser Antilles Islands, after bringing gusty winds and heavy rains to the islands over the past two days. Three-day rainfall amounts of 2 - 3" were common over the Leeward Islands, but the winds mostly stayed below tropical storm-force. Here are some of the peak wind gusts from Rafael and rainfall totals from Oct 11 through 10 am EDT October 14:

Barbados, 47 mph, 0.81"
Antigua: 37 mph, 3.66"
Martinique: 30 mph, 3.10"
St. Lucia: 39 mph, 2.07"
St. Martin: 45 mph, 2.56"
Guadaloupe: 36 mph, 2.51"
Dominica: 25 mph, 2.68"
St. Kiits: 34 mph, 3.47"

Satellite loops show that Rafael has gotten much more organized late this morning, with an impressive spiral band with very heavy thunderstorms to the east of the center. Heavy thunderstorms with cold cloud tops are forming over the center, the hallmark of an intensifying tropical storm. The Hurricane Hunters found a central pressure of 997 mb, and winds at their 5,000-foot flight level of 68 mph this morning. Rafael is experiencing a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Rafael.

Forecast for Rafael
Wind shear is expected to remain in the moderate range through Tuesday, which should allow Rafael to intensify into a Category 1 hurricane. Heavy rains will continue over the Leeward Islands today and diminish on Monday. A tropical storm watch has been posted for Bermuda, which is at risk of seeing tropical storm-force winds from Rafael on Tuesday. The 11 am EDT wind probability forecast from NHC gave Bermuda a 40% chance of experiencing tropical storm-force winds between Monday night and Wednesday morning, and a 6% chance of experiencing hurricane-force winds. The models are pretty tightly clustered showing a track for Rafael to the east of Bermuda, which would put the island on the weaker (left front) side of the storm.

Tropical Storm Paul forms in the Eastern Pacific
Tropical Storm Paul formed yesterday in the East Pacific, and is headed northwards towards Mexico's Baja Peninsula. Paul's formation brings this year's tally of named storms in the East Pacific to sixteen, making 2012 just the third year since records began in 1949 that both the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic have had at least sixteen named storms. The other years were 2003 and 2008.


Figure 2. MODIS satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Anais in the Southwest Pacific taken at 2:05 am EDT Sunday October 14, 2012. At the time, Anais was a Category 3 storm with 120 mph winds, the strongest tropical cyclone ever observed in the Southwest Pacific so early in their hurricane season. Image credit: NASA.

A rare early-season major tropical cyclone in the Southwest Indian Ocean
It's springtime in the Southern Hemisphere, where an unusual tropical cyclone has formed--Tropical Cyclone Anais, which hit Category 3 strength with 120 mph winds. According to Meteo France in La Reunion Island, Anais is the earliest major hurricane to form during the Southwest Indian Ocean's tropical cyclone season, which typically runs from November to May. Anais' formation in mid-October is akin to getting a major hurricane in the Atlantic during April, something which has never occurred (the earliest major hurricane on record in the Atlantic occurred on May 21, 1951.) Anais is the second earliest hurricane of any kind to form so early in the Southwest Indian Ocean tropical cyclone season, after Tropical Cyclone Blanche of October 10, 1969. Anais may reach Category 4 strength before cooler waters and increased wind shear weaken the storm as it approaches Madagascar.

Jeff Masters

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546. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting catastropheadjuster:
Good Morning everyone. I was wondering, does it look like the Hurricane Seasons over for us? Been very sick and haven't been on or anything and I was just wondering what's going on out there.

sheri


Some of the MJO models are getting crazy on us. This suggests far from over.


Feel better Sheri!
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Rafael today is looking a lot more Tropical then it was a few days a go when it was looking like a sub Tropical storm
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Make sure you also get your holloween candy since the storm will hit around that time.Lol so you and your family can feast!.
Quoting ncstorm:


true, its only a category 1 hurricane..wasnt Issac a Cat 1 hurricane?..isnt flooding happening in the islands?..didnt flooding happen behind Issac?..can anyone spot the difference? yeah, you right, no big deal.
Both of you might want to stock up before then look at post 537.
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SLU it looks like another invest in the eatl 99L at 10n 33w
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Time for us to make that dreaded trip to Home Depot, wash. ;-]


Hurricane shutters and snow plow equipment on sale at the same time there :)
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Time for us to make that dreaded trip to Home Depot, wash. ;-]
Make sure you also get your holloween candy since the storm will hit around that time.Lol so you and your family can feast!.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

It's really not that big of a deal. Chill out.


true, its only a category 1 hurricane..wasnt Issac a Cat 1 hurricane?..isnt flooding happening in the islands?..didnt flooding happen behind Issac?..can anyone spot the difference? yeah, you right, no big deal.
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Good Morning Everyone...This was what the Experimental FIM was showing last night in its long range projection. The storm starts to form south of Hispaniola on the 22nd and gets pulled northwest over Cuba and then rides up the East Coast. I wonder if that wave over the Central Atlantic would be the catalyst?

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Quoting washingtonian115:
Yes.But on the 300 hour + model of the GFS it shows Sandy and Tony.


Yeah these late season storms can sometimes surprise us so it will be interesting to see what the long range models have in store. This season has def had a few more named storms than earlier anticipated. Weird to think we are only 4 away from greek.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54339
Quoting TomballTXPride:

Time for us to make that dreaded trip to Home Depot, wash. ;-]

LOL go now before the rush.
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Color me surprised if Rafael is our last named storm (heck, our last hurricane for that matter), guessing we'll have our last named storm in the SW Caribbean.

Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24167
532. Skyepony (Mod)
Awesome waterspout by out Wunderphotographer DanielPavlinovic in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Click on pic to see the impressive series.




Quoting TomballTXPride:

Instead, they will tell you "Oh No! What are you talking about! Weather isn't the same as Climate!!"

But no more than a few minutes later, they will then turn around and post endless stories and instances of extreme *WEATHER* being the certain direct result of AGW.



When you look at the physics behind water vapor in the air increasing a specific amount when air is warmed a specified amount, the extreme rains we are seeing make sense in a warmer world..these are laws of nature with predictable results. Winter happens regardless, but the clash of that cold with warmer than before air would make one expect insane tornado outbreaks, derechos & such.
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Quoting luvtogolf:
So we are putting all this trust in these long range climate models when we can't struggle to forecast hurricanes 1-3 days out. Oh yea, I'm a believer.
An almanac can tell you when high tide will be in your location on a day 20 years from now. But no one can guess with any degree of accuracy the size of a wave coming ashore five minutes from now--yet that doesn't make the almanac wrong, does it?

The analogy, then:
Climate = tides.
Weather = individual waves.

'Tis a simple analogy, yes, but a right good one. I trust it will help alleviate some of your confusion. (You can thank me later.)
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Quoting Bobbyweather:
Dr. Masters, Anais is a Southwest Indian storm. Can you change that? Or are you writing a blog already?

Good one, didn't spot that. Also it has been pointed out there have been another 2 Tropical Cyclones much earlier. SE-PAC 21P and S-IND Kuena.

Once again, Goodnight
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Quoting catastropheadjuster:
Good Morning everyone. I was wondering, does it look like the Hurricane Seasons over for us? Been very sick and haven't been on or anything and I was just wondering what's going on out there.

sheri


with r spinning away
should be quiet till mid next week
tnen may have a little something maybe
down in sw carb models have been showing
ghosts from time to time there
so we still have to watch
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54339
Quoting calkevin77:


Morning Sheri. Hope you are feeling better. I was wondering the same thing. Here's the latest infrared of the CV area. Not sure if that wave will amount to anything in the next week or so but it appears to be quiet over the next few days past Rafael.

Yes.But on the 300 hour model of the GFS it shows Sandy and Tony.

(sarcastic flag on).
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Quoting all4hurricanes:
Can we talk about Rafael retiring? It looks like he has caused some significant flooding, which is no surprise all of his convection was displaced over the islands and lingered for a day after he left. I know Klaus in 1990 was a similar storm it caused heavy flooding but damages were maybe 2 million dollars and there were 11 deaths, which is bad but usually not the totals of retired storms. The WMO retired the storm anyway. If Klaus was retired I think Rafael has a good chance.


Entirely possible, Tomas also caused significant damage to the islands and was retired. Rafael could very well be retired when it's all said and done.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24167
525. 7544
is raf about to a stall ?
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Quoting catastropheadjuster:
Good Morning everyone. I was wondering, does it look like the Hurricane Seasons over for us? Been very sick and haven't been on or anything and I was just wondering what's going on out there.

sheri


Morning Sheri. Hope you are feeling better. I was wondering the same thing. Here's the latest infrared of the CV area. Not sure if that wave will amount to anything in the next week or so but it appears to be quiet over the next few days past Rafael.

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Does anyone know where you can get good cams out of Bermuda?.It will be interesting to see how conditions will do down hill.I'm sure Bermuda will make it though as they have good building codes and the island is designed to take heavy surf.
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Can we talk about Rafael retiring? It looks like he has caused some significant flooding, which is no surprise all of his convection was displaced over the islands and lingered for a day after he left. I know Klaus in 1990 was a similar storm it caused heavy flooding but damages were maybe 2 million dollars and there were 11 deaths, which is bad but usually not the totals of retired storms. The WMO retired the storm anyway. If Klaus was retired I think Rafael has a good chance.
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Good Morning everyone. I was wondering, does it look like the Hurricane Seasons over for us? Been very sick and haven't been on or anything and I was just wondering what's going on out there.

sheri
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Quoting luvtogolf:
So we are putting all this trust in these long range climate models when we can't struggle to forecast hurricanes 1-3 days out. Oh yea, I'm a believer.

A hurricane is a very complex system. We still don't have all the facts about it, for example how rapid intensification occurs, so it is obvious we can't exactly forecast tracks and intensities of hurricane even one day out. The NHC is working hard to improve their 3-day and 5-day forecasts. So are the other meteorological centers. Please keep this in mind.
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518. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting ncstorm:
You guys are really showing your colors..if Rafael was a hurricane affecting..oh I dont know the GOM or florida, you wouldnt be able to find any discussion about the artic ice but since its only affecting some islands sitting in the atlantic ocean away from the US mainland then I guess the artic ice discussions trump a little bitty hurricane..glad to know whats more important.


I've looked..show us the massive damage from Rafael...there is more people missing in Glacier National Forest right now then the none missing from Rafael..I've been looking & posting about it.

It's also not significantly affecting the islands anymore. Look out Bermuda!


You've complained more about our discussions than added to either topic.
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Quoting Bobbyweather:
Dr. Masters, Anais is a Southwest Indian storm. Can you change that? Or are you writing a blog already?



dont worry about it i sure they no about it and likey have a new blog soon
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So we are putting all this trust in these long range climate models when we struggle to forecast hurricanes 1-3 days out. Oh yea, I'm a believer.
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Dr. Masters, Anais is a Southwest Indian storm. Can you change that? Or are you writing a blog already?
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See..this why AGW debates will go nowhere..People will argue and argue and argue and not get to a point where they can agree on.So can we like agree to disagree?
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Quoting ncstorm:
You guys are really showing your colors..if Rafael was a hurricane affecting..oh I dont know the GOM or florida, you wouldnt be able to find any discussion about the artic ice but since its only affecting some islands sitting in the atlantic ocean away from the US mainland then I guess the artic ice discussions trump a little bitty hurricane..glad to know whats more important.


Honestly, I don't have much to add with Rafael. I haven't been following him the last few days, and the amount of time needed to check everything isn't really feasible at this time. (or at least, I wouldn't be able to add anything that hasn't already been said).

Now, repeating myself for the 500th time about drawing conclusions from arctic ice data and such... that requires very little research at all to explain the concept.
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Quoting Bobbyweather:

I wish the TCRs were out... at least for the early-season storms. I want to see what the NHC thinks about them.

I still believe that Gordon was a major for a short period of time.I hope he's upgrading in post season.
Quoting ncstorm:
You guys are really showing your colors..if Rafael was a hurricane affecting..oh I dont know the GOM or florida, you wouldnt be able to find any discussion about the artic ice but since its only affecting some islands sitting in the atlantic ocean away from the US mainland then I guess the artic ice discussions trump a little bitty hurricane..glad to know whats more important.
I for one think that Rafeal is interesting enough to talk about.He's now a hurricane and Bermuda will be affected in some way.
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Quoting ncstorm:
You guys are really showing your colors..if Rafael was a hurricane affecting..oh I dont know the GOM or florida, you wouldnt be able to find any discussion about the artic ice but since its only affecting some islands sitting in the atlantic ocean away from the US mainland then I guess the artic ice discussions trump a little bitty hurricane..glad to know whats more important.

It's really not that big of a deal. Chill out.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Anyone want to talk about the tropics...Something that is currently happening now...

I wish the TCRs were out... at least for the early-season storms. I want to see what the NHC thinks about them.

ADT, SAB, Recon data, ATCF, etc. suggest Rafael is now a hurricane. We should see him strengthen a little more before he reaches the mid-latitudes. I'll go a little higher than the NHC, at 80 kt (90 mph) max.

Wow, look at the cloud temperatures! (from ADT)
Center Temp : -79.5C Cloud Region Temp : -78.6C
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You guys are really showing your colors..if Rafael was a hurricane affecting..oh I dont know the GOM or florida, you wouldnt be able to find any discussion about the artic ice but since its only affecting some islands sitting in the atlantic ocean away from the US mainland then I guess the artic ice discussions trump a little bitty hurricane..glad to know whats more important.
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Anyone want to talk about the tropics...Something that is currently happening now...
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507. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting TomballTXPride:

I know. Isn't is about time already? But we're light years ahead in making global predictions off climate models! Go figure.


The mapping is confirming how quick the Antarctic glaciers could just slide into the ocean in spots, rapidly raising sea level. Serious mapping of Antarctica started about 8 years ago. Much is underwater or ice. It's taken NASA with satellites & submarines to get a clearer picture.

Climate models have been not doom enough...check out how bad the Arctic sea ice models did. It has come faster than what they predicted. Temp models look similiar but have been hotter than expected. Antarctic is gaining a small amount of sea ice because it's loosing glaciers as they slide into the sea. Models missed it, though some scientists suspected it. The models still weren't doom enough on the warmth or loss of glacier ice.. The last IPCC didn't even include sea level rise potential from Antarctic. I would plan on higher & faster, inaction seems irresponsible especially since our calculations haven't been doom enough so far.
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Well at least Rafeal has taken the role of continuing with the males becoming hurricanes.Good for him I don't think Tony will be anything much if he ever forms.
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OK, I will grab the target and throw it on my own back for a moment.

It is fall, after all. The sea ice should be recovering. No one said there would be no natural variation. In a few months, there will be LOTS more ice than there was that first week of September, as there should be. There is no valid argument to be had from "the sea ice is recovering." Well, thank goodness!

Not to mention, that good old common sense argument that if there was a lot of open water to freeze, there would be a rapid recovery when fall freeze-up began. A big expanse of water with the potential to freeze means a bigger potential for "recovery" when all the water freezes, after all. Still no argument.

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Ice is cold. It melts when it is above freezing.
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Quoting Skyepony:


It was from over the weekend. About the worst I've seen from it. Even those pics depicted one street. Another report..

There were no immediate reports of any significant damage or injuries in the Caribbean islands as the center of the tropical storm churned toward the north-northwest at about 10 mph (17 kph). By late Sunday night, it was about 235 miles (380 kilometers) north-northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was packing winds of roughly 70 mph (110 kph).

Read more:
Rafeal had a large moisture feild with him and his slow movement was not helping.
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Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24167
Quoting TomballTXPride:

Wait! Are you saying we should throw out the last few years of Arctic Ice loss? Oh no, you can't be saying that. Please say it ain't so.


Huh? What he is saying is that to draw intelligent conclusions or even hypothesis from the data, you have to smooth it to take out seasonal variations. There is no mention of tossing out data, or just removing the last few years from consideration. It means averaging out data values to get an annual number that is able to be compared apples to apples. Comparing winter sea ice in one hemisphere and summer sea ice in the other hemisphere at the same time is foolhardy and quite frankly, stupid.
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Quoting AussieStorm:


The Arctic Sea ice area has recovered by 1.33105 million Sq. kilometres as of 1 week ago. Up from 2.23401 million sq. kilometres.

I'll say no more. Goodnight all.

Winter is cold. I win argument. Good night... SMH.
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496. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting washingtonian115:
Is that from Rafeal now?.Because if that's the case he may be a canidate for retirement. Sorta like Tomas was from causing damaging flooding in the islands two years ago.


It was from over the weekend. About the worst I've seen from it. Even those pics depicted one street. Another report..

There were no immediate reports of any significant damage or injuries in the Caribbean islands as the center of the tropical storm churned toward the north-northwest at about 10 mph (17 kph). By late Sunday night, it was about 235 miles (380 kilometers) north-northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was packing winds of roughly 70 mph (110 kph).

Read more:
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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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