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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Quoting wxchaser97:

They also mentioned intensity guidance with Rafael to base their forecast. I agree with you on what you are saying. How strong do you think Rafael and Paul will get?

On a side note, it is very gusty tonight where I am and the cold front is almost over me.

I think Paul will become a weak Cat 1.... and Rafael maybe a weak Cat 2.... thats just a guess tho
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Quoting Doppler22:
Who will be the first hurricane??? Paul or Rafael???

I think Paul will probably win that race with Rafael in a close second.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
One thing that's always bothered me about the NHC is their obsessive reliance on the computer models, especially the intensity consensus. A fine example is the latest advisory/discussion for Paul:

PAUL IS FORECAST TO REMAIN IN A LOW-SHEAR ENVIRONMENT AND OVER SEA
SURFACE TEMPERATURES OF 26-28C FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS. GIVEN THE
IMPROVED STRUCTURE...CONTINUED STRENGTHENING IS LIKELY DURING THAT
TIME. THE NHC INTENSITY FORECAST SHOWS A BIT MORE STRENGTHENING ON
THIS CYCLE THAN THE PREVIOUS ONE BASED ON THE LASTEST GUIDANCE
...
AND THE PEAK INTENSITY IS VERY CLOSE TO THAT SHOWN BY THE ICON
CONSENSUS. STRONG SOUTH-SOUTHWESTERLY SHEAR IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP
IN ABOUT 36-48 HOURS...AND PAUL IS THEREFORE FORECAST TO WEAKEN
QUICKLY AS IT GETS CLOSER TO THE COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA. WITH
THE ADDED EFFECT OF COOLER SSTS...PAUL COULD BECOME A REMNANT LOW
BETWEEN DAYS 3 AND 4 AND DISSIPATE BY DAY 5.

And that's not all; how often do you see them ever go against the consensus? Above or below? They will occasionally make comments to that effect, but even then, the differences are cosmetic at best. An example is Emilia all the way back in July. They were not calling for a major hurricane in the first few advisories even though conditions quite obviously favored significant strengthening. To be fair, the first advisory did peak her at 85 kt/100 mph, which is only 15 kt shy of the bottom of Category 3 strength, but still.

Unlike some here, I am not going to claim that I have more expertise than certified professionals. But just because someone (or in this case, something) is an authority on something does not negate questioning. I seriously do not understand their decisions sometimes. Why can't they use their own judgment?

They also mentioned intensity guidance with Rafael to base their forecast. I agree with you on what you are saying. How strong do you think Rafael and Paul will get?

On a side note, it is very gusty tonight where I am and the cold front is almost over me.
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Who will be the first hurricane??? Paul or Rafael???
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Guys look at something cool...
click back and forth on the NHC site Atlantic and Epac....you will notice that both storms are almost on the same location...both symbols barely move.


Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
948 PM AST SUN OCT 14 2012

.UPDATE...
BROAD CIRCULATION AROUND TROPICAL STORM RAFAEL CONTINUED TO BRING
OCCASIONAL BANDS OF SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ACROSS THE
LOCAL WATERS AND PARTS OF ISLANDS DURING THE EVENING HOURS. THE
ISLANDS MOSTLY BEING AFFECTED WERE NOW CULEBRA...VIEQUES AND THE
VIRGIN ISLANDS...AS A LOW LEVEL ZONE OF CONVERGENCE CREATED BY
THE NOW PREVAILING WEST TO SOUTHWEST FLOW WAS NOW ALIGNED ACROSS
THESE ISLANDS AND EXTENDED FURTHER EAST ACROSS THE NORTHERN
LEEWARDS. WITH THIS PRESENT WIND FLOW EXPECT CONVERGING BANDS OF
SHOWER AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY TO CONTINUE TO DEVELOP
AND MOVE ACROSS THESE AREAS BRINGING PERIODS OF MODERATE TO
LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL AT TIMES. FOR THIS REASON THE FLASH FLOOD
WATCH WAS EXTENDED AT LEAST UNTIL MIDNIGHT AS THE POTENTIAL FOR
PERIODS OF LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS WILL CONTINUE ACROSS THESE AREAS AT
LEAST FOR NOW AND PENDING FURTHER EVALUATION. MINOR ADJUSTMENT WERE
MADE TO THE LOCAL WINDS BASED ON LATEST TJSJ 15/00Z UPPER AIR SOUNDING
DATA...LOCAL SURFACE OBSERVATIONS AS WELL AS DATA FROM THE SURROUNDING
MARINE BUOYS.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14548
Quoting ncstorm:


well I guess they are the lucky ones then because they dont have to read your musings and put downs in regards to Global Warming which is more important anyway than an ole silly tropical storm that has knocked out power to a lot of people..


They baited him and he took the bait. Never seen such a long nonsense post quoted verbatim so many times either.
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One thing that's always bothered me about the NHC is their obsessive reliance on the computer models, especially the intensity consensus. A fine example is the latest advisory/discussion for Paul:

PAUL IS FORECAST TO REMAIN IN A LOW-SHEAR ENVIRONMENT AND OVER SEA
SURFACE TEMPERATURES OF 26-28C FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS. GIVEN THE
IMPROVED STRUCTURE...CONTINUED STRENGTHENING IS LIKELY DURING THAT
TIME. THE NHC INTENSITY FORECAST SHOWS A BIT MORE STRENGTHENING ON
THIS CYCLE THAN THE PREVIOUS ONE BASED ON THE LASTEST GUIDANCE
...
AND THE PEAK INTENSITY IS VERY CLOSE TO THAT SHOWN BY THE ICON
CONSENSUS. STRONG SOUTH-SOUTHWESTERLY SHEAR IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP
IN ABOUT 36-48 HOURS...AND PAUL IS THEREFORE FORECAST TO WEAKEN
QUICKLY AS IT GETS CLOSER TO THE COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA. WITH
THE ADDED EFFECT OF COOLER SSTS...PAUL COULD BECOME A REMNANT LOW
BETWEEN DAYS 3 AND 4 AND DISSIPATE BY DAY 5.

And that's not all; how often do you see them ever go against the consensus? Above or below? They will occasionally make comments to that effect, but even then, the differences are cosmetic at best. An example is Emilia all the way back in July. They were not calling for a major hurricane in the first few advisories even though conditions quite obviously favored significant strengthening. To be fair, the first advisory did peak her at 85 kt/100 mph, which is only 15 kt shy of the bottom of Category 3 strength, but still.

Unlike some here, I am not going to claim that I have more expertise than certified professionals. But just because someone (or in this case, something) is an authority on something does not negate questioning. I seriously do not understand their decisions sometimes. Why can't they use their own judgment?
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So 18z gfs shows a near Halloween storm. That could be spooky for someone. As usual, I need to see consistency and consensus.

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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
There is a race between Paul and Rafael to see which one will be a hurricane first. I say both will be hurricanes on the next advisory.
Paul will probably win the race to hurricane strength should be one the next advisory.
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Why is TWC broadcaster wearing knee-high black boots?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Plus TWC cameraman panned back on the shot to display her "outfit" head to toe.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Correct.


Very unusual a storm developing in a dead zone area..
but the again this has been an odd year weather-wise.. :)
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
There is a race between Paul and Rafael to see which one will be a hurricane first. I say both will be hurricanes on the next advisory.

Paul should be a hurricane next advisory as he is looking/doing really well. Rafael I am a little more uncertain on him becoming a hurricane at 5am but definitely one by 11am. I think Rafael could become stronger than Paul though, even though the NHC doesn't.
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Quoting pcola57:


Hurricaine Kate I believe..


Correct.
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Quoting wxchaser97:

Rafael will be pretty close, but I think he can do it.
If not then maybe Sandy can do it in the Caribbean. The problem earlier this year was the trade winds which kept a storm from organizing in most of the Caribbean. However those trade winds are slower that earlier which should allow any system to strengthen more.


The Bermuda/Azores high reaches its peak during the summer months. Also, most October/November developments tend to occur in the western Caribbean, more distant from the axis of the ridge where the horizontal pressure gradient is weaker. This promotes weaker trade winds than if one were to be closer to the axis of the high.
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Paul:



Rafael:

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32505
Quoting KoritheMan:


It has historical precedence too.



I'd personally be interested in seeing that happen again eventually. From a historical standpoint, it would be stunning.


Hurricaine Kate I believe..

New Blog..something differet
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There is a race between Paul and Rafael to see which one will be a hurricane first. I say both will be hurricanes on the next advisory.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14548
70kts at peak? That's it? Conservative NHC strikes again!

Anyways, my pillow, it calls to me.

So cheerio, bye-bye, whatever.
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Tropical Storm Paul:

Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
TROPICAL STORM PAUL DISCUSSION NUMBER 6
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP162012
800 PM PDT SUN OCT 14 2012

MICROWAVE DATA INDICATE THAT THE STRUCTURE OF PAUL HAS IMPROVED
SIGNIFICANTLY...WITH THE LAST FEW PASSES REVEALING A NEARLY CLOSED
EYEWALL. THE CONVECTIVE PATTERN IN INFRARED IMAGERY DOES NOT
APPEAR QUITE AS WELL STRUCTURED...BUT DVORAK ESTIMATES HAVE
INCREASED TO T3.5/55 KT FROM TAFB AND T4.0/65 KT FROM SAB. BASED
ON THESE DATA...THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS SET AT 60 KT.

PAUL IS FORECAST TO REMAIN IN A LOW-SHEAR ENVIRONMENT AND OVER SEA
SURFACE TEMPERATURES OF 26-28C FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS. GIVEN THE
IMPROVED STRUCTURE...CONTINUED STRENGTHENING IS LIKELY DURING THAT
TIME. THE NHC INTENSITY FORECAST SHOWS A BIT MORE STRENGTHENING ON
THIS CYCLE THAN THE PREVIOUS ONE BASED ON THE LASTEST GUIDANCE...
AND THE PEAK INTENSITY IS VERY CLOSE TO THAT SHOWN BY THE ICON
CONSENSUS. STRONG SOUTH-SOUTHWESTERLY SHEAR IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP
IN ABOUT 36-48 HOURS...AND PAUL IS THEREFORE FORECAST TO WEAKEN
QUICKLY AS IT GETS CLOSER TO THE COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA. WITH
THE ADDED EFFECT OF COOLER SSTS...PAUL COULD BECOME A REMNANT LOW
BETWEEN DAYS 3 AND 4 AND DISSIPATE BY DAY 5.

PAUL IS ENTERING THE AREA BETWEEN A MID-LEVEL RIDGE LOCATED ACROSS
CENTRAL MEXICO AND A DEVELOPING MID-/UPPER-LEVEL LOW TO THE WEST OF
BAJA CALIFORNIA. THESE FEATURES ARE EXPECTED TO ACCELERATE PAUL
NORTHWARD DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS TOWARD THE BAJA PENINSULA.
AFTER THAT TIME...PAUL IS FORECAST TO TURN NORTHWESTWARD AS IT GETS
FLUNG AROUND THE NORTH SIDE OF THE MID- TO UPPER-LEVEL LOW. THE
TRACK GUIDANCE IS TIGHTLY CLUSTERED DURING THE ENTIRE FORECAST
PERIOD...AND THE UPDATED NHC FORECAST IS VERY SIMILAR TO THE
PREVIOUS ONE.

BASED ON THE LATEST FORECAST...TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS WOULD
REMAIN OFFSHORE THE WEST COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA DURING THE NEXT
48 HOURS. HOWEVER...A NORTHEASTWARD SHIFT IN THE FORECAST
TRACK...OR AN INCREASE IN THE FORECAST SIZE OF THE CYCLONE...WOULD
LIKELY REQUIRE A TROPICAL STORM WATCH OR WARNING FOR A PORTION OF
THE WEST COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 15/0300Z 15.8N 115.3W 60 KT 70 MPH
12H 15/1200Z 17.2N 115.2W 70 KT 80 MPH
24H 16/0000Z 19.6N 114.7W 75 KT 85 MPH
36H 16/1200Z 22.1N 114.2W 65 KT 75 MPH
48H 17/0000Z 24.2N 114.2W 55 KT 65 MPH
72H 18/0000Z 27.0N 117.0W 35 KT 40 MPH
96H 19/0000Z 29.5N 122.0W 25 KT 30 MPH...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
120H 20/0000Z...DISSIPATED

$$
FORECASTER BERG
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM PAUL ADVISORY NUMBER 6
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP162012
800 PM PDT SUN OCT 14 2012

...PAUL CLOSE TO HURRICANE STRENGTH...


SUMMARY OF 800 PM PDT...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...15.8N 115.3W
ABOUT 605 MI...970 KM SW OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH...110 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNW OR 340 DEGREES AT 7 MPH...11 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...991 MB...29.26 INCHES
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
...RAFAEL NEAR HURRICANE STRENGTH...
11:00 PM AST Sun Oct 14
Location: 21.6°N 64.8°W
Moving: NNW at 10 mph
Min pressure: 989 mb
Max sustained: 70 mph

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 15/0300Z 21.6N 64.8W 60 KT 70 MPH
12H 15/1200Z 22.8N 65.6W 65 KT 75 MPH
24H 16/0000Z 24.8N 65.9W 70 KT 80 MPH
36H 16/1200Z 27.5N 65.0W 70 KT 80 MPH
48H 17/0000Z 31.5N 62.6W 65 KT 75 MPH
72H 18/0000Z 40.5N 55.0W 60 KT 70 MPH
96H 19/0000Z 48.0N 39.0W 55 KT 65 MPH...POST-TROP/EXTRATROP
120H 20/0000Z 49.0N 26.0W 50 KT 60 MPH...POST-TROP/EXTRATROP

$$
FORECASTER PASCH
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.
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
TROPICAL STORM RAFAEL DISCUSSION NUMBER 10
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL172012
1100 PM AST SUN OCT 14 2012

THE CLOUD PATTERN OF THE STORM HAS BECOME A LITTLE BETTER ORGANIZED
ON SATELLITE IMAGES OVER THE PAST SEVERAL HOURS...WITH MORE
DISTINCT CURVED BAND FEATURES NOTED TO THE NORTHWEST...NORTH...
NORTHEAST...AND EAST OF THE CENTER. THE AIR FORCE HURRICANE
HUNTERS MEASURED PEAK 850 MB FLIGHT-LEVEL WINDS OF 71 KT AND AN
SFMR SURFACE WIND OF 59 KT TO THE NORTH-NORTHWEST OF THE CENTER.
CORRECTING FOR RAINFALL REDUCES THIS SFMR VALUE TO 54 KT...BUT IT
IS PRESUMED THAT SLIGHTLY STRONGER SURFACE WINDS ARE OCCURRING OVER
THE NORTHEAST QUADRANT...SO THE CURRENT INTENSITY ESTIMATE IS
INCREASED TO 60 KT.

RAFAEL HAS FAIRLY WELL-DEFINED UPPER-LEVEL OUTFLOW OVER THE NORTHERN
AND EASTERN PORTIONS OF ITS CIRCULATION. ALTHOUGH THE
SOUTHWESTERLY SHEAR OVER THE CYCLONE IS LIKELY TO BE MODERATE TO
STRONG OVER THE NEXT DAY OR TWO...THE INCREASE IN ORGANIZATION AND
THE LATEST STATISTICAL-DYNAMICAL INTENSITY MODEL GUIDANCE INDICATE
THAT RAFAEL COULD STRENGTHEN SOME MORE IN THE SHORT TERM. IN 2-3
DAYS...HOWEVER...THE SHEAR IS FORECAST TO INCREASE TO 30 TO 40 KT
AS A LARGE UPPER-TROPOSPHERIC TROUGH APPROACHES THE TROPICAL
CYCLONE...WHICH SHOULD INDUCE WEAKENING. BY 96 HOURS...GLOBAL
MODEL OUTPUT SHOWS CONSIDERABLE COLD AIR ADVECTION OVER THE WESTERN
PORTION OF THE CIRCULATION...SO THE SYSTEM IS FORECAST TO BECOME AN
EXTRATROPICAL CYCLONE BY THAT TIME.

THE MOTION REMAINS NORTH-NORTHWESTWARD...OR 330/9...AND THE FORECAST
STEERING SCENARIO REMAINS ABOUT THE SAME AS BEFORE. RAFAEL IS
EXPECTED TO TURN NORTHWARD AND NORTHEASTWARD WITH INCREASING
FORWARD SPEED OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS AS IT MOVES BETWEEN A
MID-LATITUDE TROUGH AND A SUBTROPICAL HIGH PRESSURE AREA. BY LATE
IN THE FORECAST PERIOD...GLOBAL GUIDANCE SHOWS THE EXTRATROPICAL
CYCLONE SLOWING DOWN AS IT INTERACTS WITH ANOTHER LOW OVER THE
NORTHEASTERN ATLANTIC. THERE ARE CONSIDERABLE DIFFERENCES IN THE
FORWARD SPEED PREDICTED BY THE DYNAMICAL MODELS OVER THE NEXT 3
DAYS OR SO...WITH THE ECMWF SHOWING A SUBSTANTIALLY SLOWER MOTION
THAN MOST OF THE OTHER TRACK GUIDANCE. THE OFFICIAL TRACK FORECAST
IS SIMILAR TO THAT FROM THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY AND LEANS TOWARD THE
LATEST GFS ENSEMBLE MEAN FORECAST.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 15/0300Z 21.6N 64.8W 60 KT 70 MPH
12H 15/1200Z 22.8N 65.6W 65 KT 75 MPH
24H 16/0000Z 24.8N 65.9W 70 KT 80 MPH
36H 16/1200Z 27.5N 65.0W 70 KT 80 MPH
48H 17/0000Z 31.5N 62.6W 65 KT 75 MPH
72H 18/0000Z 40.5N 55.0W 60 KT 70 MPH
96H 19/0000Z 48.0N 39.0W 55 KT 65 MPH...POST-TROP/EXTRATROP
120H 20/0000Z 49.0N 26.0W 50 KT 60 MPH...POST-TROP/EXTRATROP

$$
FORECASTER PASCH
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32505
BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM RAFAEL ADVISORY NUMBER 10
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL172012
1100 PM AST SUN OCT 14 2012

...RAFAEL NEAR HURRICANE STRENGTH...


SUMMARY OF 1100 PM AST...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...21.6N 64.8W
ABOUT 235 MI...380 KM NNE OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO
ABOUT 740 MI...1190 KM S OF BERMUDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH...110 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNW OR 330 DEGREES AT 10 MPH...17 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...989 MB...29.21 INCHES
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting clwstmchasr:


You would think that if something got going in the Caribbean that it would take off for the reasons you stated. But, this has been a weird year. Only one hurricane has formed below 25N (Rafael may be number 2 (she is getting close).

Rafael will be pretty close, but I think he can do it.
If not then maybe Sandy can do it in the Caribbean. The problem earlier this year was the trade winds which kept a storm from organizing in most of the Caribbean. However those trade winds are slower that earlier which should allow any system to strengthen more.
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Quoting opal92nwf:

Remember 2009 with the all the piddly storms and relative inactivity? But then out of the blue Ida came along and bombed into a cat 2 in the southern Gulf. It gave us a scare in the Panhandle of FL. At one point the forecast track had it making landfall as a cat 1 in Pensacola, all in November! Who knows what might happen this year, it might not be over.
Yes, especially since the noreaster formed from Ida's remnants did a ton of damage.
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Quoting clwstmchasr:


You would think that if something got going in the Caribbean that it would take off for the reasons you stated. But, this has been a weird year. Only one hurricane has formed below 25N (Rafael may be number 2 (she is getting close).

Remember 2009 with the all the piddly storms and relative inactivity? But then out of the blue Ida came along and bombed into a cat 2 in the southern Gulf. It gave us a scare in the Panhandle of FL. At one point the forecast track had it making landfall as a cat 1 in Pensacola, all in November! Who knows what might happen this year, it might not be over.
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Quoting clwstmchasr:


Three conversations I stay away from in forums like this - politics, abortion and AGW.


You forgot religion.
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Interesting, this certainly wouldn't be pretty, is this the year we break the drought of Major Hurricanes hitting the CONUS, I suppose we will find out in the coming weeks.




It has historical precedence too.



I'd personally be interested in seeing that happen again eventually. From a historical standpoint, it would be stunning.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Sleep-posting, I guess.


Yes, because I can obviously do that.

Quoting Skyepony:
Rafael poised to take advantage of that longer run of warm water.

I personally see Rafael becoming a strong cat1 instead of a minimal one. Things seem right for more intensification than expected by the NHC.
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361. Skyepony (Mod)
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 15th day of the month at 02:01Z
Corrected: This observation corrected a previous observation.
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 308)
Storm Number & Year: 17L in 2012
Storm Name: Rafael (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 5
Observation Number: 12
A. Time of Center Fix: 15th day of the month at 1:24:30Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 21°12'N 64°43'W (21.2N 64.7167W)
B. Center Fix Location: 212 miles (341 km) to the NNE (24°) from San Juan, Puerto Rico (USA).
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 1,339m (4,393ft) at 850mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 36kts (~ 41.4mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 15 nautical miles (17 statute miles) to the SE (143°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 239° at 50kts (From the WSW at ~ 57.5mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 20 nautical miles (23 statute miles) to the SE (145°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 990mb (29.23 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 17°C (63°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,522m (4,993ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 21°C (70°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,522m (4,993ft)
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, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 850mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 2 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 71kts (~ 81.7mph) in the northeast quadrant at 22:41:30Z
Maximum Flight Level Temp: 23°C (73°F) which was observed 12 nautical miles (14 statute miles) to the SE (138°) from the flight level center
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 191 Comments: 38624
Quoting opal92nwf:
I'm not in denial or anything, but how is this thing going to go straight into that big high?

The trough entering the East USA is slowly eroding the western periphery of it.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32505
I'm not in denial or anything, but how is this thing going to go straight into that big high?
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Quoting KoritheMan:


More like every year. Going strictly by memory, the GFS has been a good long-range predictor since 2008; IIRC it nailed Bertha's formation a week in advance.

Sometimes I really wonder why the Euro is considered to be the most reliable model. I'd certainly be interested in seeing the statistics on that.


IMO,GFS has been the stellar model this season after the May upgrade. ECMWF has not been as formidable as in past years.Maybe an upgrade would be good for that one.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14548
Interesting, this certainly wouldn't be pretty, is this the year we break the drought of Major Hurricanes hitting the CONUS, I suppose we will find out in the coming weeks.


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355. Skyepony (Mod)
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 191 Comments: 38624
Quoting KoritheMan:


There is still the potential for one to form in the western Caribbean. The GFS is getting consistent with development in that region during the 10 - 14 day timeframe.

I'm going to assume it comes from the monsoon through.

Quoting LostTomorrows:


Most agree that Michael was stronger, and also stayed a major for longer. I'm not sure about Kirk, but I am pretty sure Gordon was a major as well. Although Kirk was a good looker for a category 2 as well.

Raphael, if he keeps thiis current trend up for the next day or two, could very well be a major, and if he pulls an Ophelia just east of Bermuda, I will be pretty impressed, because she peaked pretty far north and east. But at this time of year, I'm not holding hope for it. Plus, Raphael is larger than Ophelia was, and is forecast to pass closer to Bermuda than Ophelia did, so they might get quite affected by this ninja turtle.

Interesting how all the hurricanes have been male names. Maybe Sandy will break this trend. I'm forecasting our ninja turtle to peak at 100mph.

Also, I've noticed a lot of you guys are spelling the storm's name as RAPHAEL, while the proper spelling is RAFAEL in this case. The latter is the Spanish-derived spelling of the name.
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Sleep-posting, I guess.

Quoting wxchaser97:

I, too, think they should raise their intensity forecast up. Rafael has a good enough environment for strengthening and models still bring it up to a strong cat1.

Goodnight everyone.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32505
352. Skyepony (Mod)
Rafael poised to take advantage of that longer run of warm water.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 191 Comments: 38624
Quoting wxchaser97:

We know when the GFS gets consistent with forming a storm, this year, it usually does form. With a big mjo pulse, high TCHP and SST values, and low wind shear can really help get a major going. When such storm forms its track would be figured out.


More like every year. Going strictly by memory, the GFS has been a good long-range predictor since 2008; IIRC it nailed Bertha's formation a week in advance.

Sometimes I really wonder why the Euro is considered to be the most reliable model. I'd certainly be interested in seeing the statistics on that.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


There is still the potential for one to form in the western Caribbean. The GFS is getting consistent with develop in that region during the 10 - 14 day timeframe.

We know when the GFS gets consistent with forming a storm, this year, it usually does form. With a big mjo pulse, high TCHP and SST values, and low wind shear can really help get a major going. When such storm forms its track would be figured out.
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
I just want to point out that I find it ironic that there are those on here who will make snide comments about another, accusing them of making snide comments. This does not create a conducive atmosphere for intelligent discussion, and instead creates a lot of immature arguments. A little respect will go a long way towards closing the gap between both sides of the AGW camp.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

A part of me hopes for it to blow up similar to Ophelia. At the very least, I hope for it to become a major. I refuse to believe this season will end with one lone major hurricane. Gordon and Kirk were majors in my eyes, and Michael may have been stronger than 115mph.


Most agree that Michael was stronger, and also stayed a major for longer. I'm not sure about Kirk, but I am pretty sure Gordon was a major as well. Although Kirk was a good looker for a category 2 as well.

Rafael, if he keeps thiis current trend up for the next day or two, could very well be a major, and if he pulls an Ophelia just east of Bermuda, I will be pretty impressed, because she peaked pretty far north and east. But at this time of year, I'm not holding hope for it. Plus, Rafael is larger than Ophelia was, and is forecast to pass closer to Bermuda than Ophelia did, so they might get quite affected by this ninja turtle.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 612
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

A part of me hopes for it to blow up similar to Ophelia. At the very least, I hope for it to become a major. I refuse to believe this season will end with one lone major hurricane. Gordon and Kirk were majors in my eyes, and Michael may have been stronger than 115mph.


There is still the potential for one to form in the western Caribbean. The GFS is getting consistent with development in that region during the 10 - 14 day timeframe.
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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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