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 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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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.

I want to see it become a big major and not hit anything, but I don't think that will happen. Gordan could have been a major hurricane but I don't think Kirk was.
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 82 Comments: 7056
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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.

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.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5521
Quoting UKHWatcher:
If I am a bit late on this,,, please forgive me... I became a Daddy 6 hours ago to Isaac at 8lb 5oz and was a bit preoccupied, but Dr Masters, Anais is surely in the Indian Ocean... NOT the Pacific. Elsewise, Rafaels remnants will be coming our way looking at the cone. Weve ad so much post-tropical action in the UK this year.

Congratulations!!
Member Since: February 13, 2012 Posts: 10 Comments: 3263
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

I think the NHC should raise their intensity forecast at 11. 75-80kts is a good bet, given their somewhat conservative bias.

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.
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Quoting Skyepony:




I think the NHC should raise their intensity forecast at 11. 75-80kts is a good bet, given their somewhat conservative bias. Also, CHIPS ensemble lol.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5521
338. Skyepony (Mod)
Date: Near the closest hour of 1Z on the 15th day of the month
Highest Mandatory Level For Which Wind Was Reported: 850mb
Coordinates: 21.2N 64.7W
Location: 212 miles (342 km) to the NNE (25°) from San Juan, Puerto Rico (USA).
Marsden Square: 079 (About)

Level Geo. Height Air Temp. Dew Point Wind Direction Wind Speed
990mb (29.23 inHg) Sea Level (Surface) 27.0°C (80.6°F) 25.5°C (77.9°F) 360° (from the N) 11 knots (13 mph)
1000mb -94m (-308 ft) This level does not exist in this area of the storm above the surface level.
925mb 596m (1,955 ft) 23.2°C (73.8°F) 22.8°C (73.0°F) 5° (from the N) 9 knots (10 mph)
850mb 1,336m (4,383 ft) 21.0°C (69.8°F) 19.6°C (67.3°F) 355° (from the N) 6 knots (7 mph)

Information About Radiosonde:
- Launch Time: 1:24Z
- About Sonde: A descending radiosonde tracked automatically by satellite navigation with no solar or infrared correction.

Remarks Section...

Dropsonde Location: Dropped in eye.
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337. Skyepony (Mod)



Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36075
Quoting UKHWatcher:
If I am a bit late on this,,, please forgive me... I became a Daddy 6 hours ago to Isaac at 8lb 5oz and was a bit preoccupied, but Dr Masters, Anais is surely in the Indian Ocean... NOT the Pacific. Elsewise, Rafaels remnants will be coming our way looking at the cone. Weve ad so much post-tropical action in the UK this year.


Congrats!
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Quoting txjac:


Congratulations!!! Happiness! Now get back to your wife and baby ...good times for you in the future!


sent home til lunchtime tomorrow as is the way here. All over the "issue" at hand though!
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334. Skyepony (Mod)
ASCAT caught the Central Atlantic wave.


UKHWatcher~ Congrats! I posted something maybe in the last page about three waves of moisture coming your way. Flooding expected.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36075
Quoting flcanes:

rafa should become a cat 2 eventually,maybe even cat 3

I wouldn't go that high, strong cat1 to a lower-end cat2 imo.
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Quoting UKHWatcher:
If I am a bit late on this,,, please forgive me... I became a Daddy 6 hours ago to Isaac at 8lb 5oz and was a bit preoccupied, but Dr Masters, Anais is surely in the Indian Ocean... NOT the Pacific. Elsewise, Rafaels remnants will be coming our way looking at the cone. Weve ad so much post-tropical action in the UK this year.

I like the name choice as that is my name, congratulations. Yeah you have been getting multiple post-tropical storms this year.
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331. txjac
Quoting UKHWatcher:
If I am a bit late on this,,, please forgive me... I became a Daddy 6 hours ago to Isaac at 8lb 5oz and was a bit preoccupied, but Dr Masters, Anais is surely in the Indian Ocean... NOT the Pacific. Elsewise, Rafaels remnants will be coming our way looking at the cone. Weve ad so much post-tropical action in the UK this year.


Congratulations!!! Happiness! Now get back to your wife and baby ...good times for you in the future!
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Rafael is wobbling around as the latest center fix was to the east of the last one.
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If I am a bit late on this,,, please forgive me... I became a Daddy 6 hours ago to Isaac at 8lb 5oz and was a bit preoccupied, but Dr Masters, Anais is surely in the Indian Ocean... NOT the Pacific. Elsewise, Rafaels remnants will be coming our way looking at the cone. Weve ad so much post-tropical action in the UK this year.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Somehow I seriously doubt whether any of the people in the islands are huddled in the growing darkness while the winds and rain are picking up, frantically searching through this forum's comments for guidance on what to do next. But any who are can probably find what they need just fine anyway...


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..

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13451
Derived from NHC_ATCF data for TropicalStormRaphael @ 15Oct.12amGMT
20.3n64.4w has been re-evaluated&altered
20.4n64.3w-20.3n64.4w are now the most recent positions

NGD-Anegada :: AXA-Anguilla :: SXM-SintMaarten :: SAB-Saba
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latest fix indicate a westward drift/wobble
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325. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #7
SEVERE TROPICAL STORM MARIA (T1222)
9:00 AM JST October 15 2012
================================

SUBJECT: Category Two Typhoon Near The Marianas

At 0:00 AM UTC, Severe Tropical Storm Maria (990 hPa) located at 19.3N 141.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 50 knots with gusts of 70 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving northwest at 10 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T3.0

Gale Force Winds
=================
150 NM from the center in eastern quadrant
120 NM from the center in western quadrant

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

24 HRS: 25.2N 139.7E - 55 knots (Severe Tropical Storm/CAT 2) - southwest of Chichi jima
48 HRS: 28.7N 140.2E - 55 knots (Severe Tropical Storm/CAT 2) - northwest of Chichi jima
72 HRS: 32.8N 149.6E - 50 knots (Severe Tropical Storm/CAT 2) - Sea East of Japan
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Paul:

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323. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting flcanes:

well,paul looks like it might go to baja for a visit


Looking less & less like more rain for TX.

Best Rafael has done today is a uniform CDO.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36075
322. Skyepony (Mod)
A tornado touched down five miles southeast of Hale Center in a storm system that delivered baseball-sized hail, at least in one case breaking car windows Friday. “We didn’t hear any reports of damage” from the tornado, explained National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Vitale. “The report we got is it only lasted a couple of minutes.” The first official report of Hale Center hail came at 6:21 p.m., Vitale said, measuring 2 inches in diameter. Then 2.75-diameter hail was observed there at 6:58 p.m. Car windows were reported broken by hail at the I-27 rest stop near Hale Center. There also were reports of hail in Tulia and Kress. After the tornado passed through the Hale Center area, Vitale said it touched down again eight miles west of Lockney. The storm and a resulting power outage caused Friday night’s Hale Center-Lockney High football game to be delayed until Saturday.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Prapiroon looks annular. Reminds me of Luis '95.


Yep. Prapiroon looks annular. It features a large eye and looks symmetrical.

Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 82 Comments: 7056
320. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #81
TYPHOON PRAPIROON (T1221)
9:00 AM JST October 15 2012
================================

SUBJECT: Category Three Typhoon south of Minami daito

At 0:00 AM UTC, Typhoon Prapiroon (955 hPa) located at 22.8N 131.2E has 10 minute sustained winds of 70 knots with gusts of 100 knots. The cyclone is reported as almost stationary.

Dvorak Intensity: T4.5

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

Gale Force Winds
================
300 NM from the center in northwestern quadrant
270 NM from the center in southeastern quadrant

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

24 HRS: 22.1N 130.0E - 70 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) - south southwest of Minami daito
48 HRS: 22.5N 128.0E - 65 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) - south of Naha
72 HRS: 23.9N 127.3E - 65 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) - Sea South Of Okinawa
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318. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #12
CYCLONE TROPICAL INTENSE ANAIS (01-20122013)
4:30 AM RET October 15 2012
==========================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Intense Tropical Cyclone Anais (957 hPa) located at 12.5S 64.9E has 10 minute sustained winds of 90 knots with gusts of 130 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving southwest at 7 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T4.5/5.5/W1.5/6HRS

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

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

Gale Force Winds
=================
90 NM radius from the center extending up to 110 NM radius from the center in the southern semi-circle

Near Gale Force Winds
=====================
110 NM radius from the center, extending up to 180 NM in the southern semi-circle

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

24 HRS: 14.3S 61.8E - 60 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
48 HRS: 16.2S 58.3E - 40 knots (Tempête Tropicale Modérée)
72 HRS: 17.7S 56.2E - 30 knots (DEPRESSION TROPICALE)

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

Anais has began to weaken as it shift now over over marginal sea surface temperature and weakening oceanic heat potential. Winds extension has been recalibrated thanks to 1948 PM UTC ASCAT swath.

On this west southwestwards track, tropical cyclone will however undergo favorable atmospheric environmental conditions within the next 24 hours in relationship with persistent good upper level divergence and weak vertical wind shear. System should consequently weaken slowly in a first time then quickly on and after Tuesday.

On Wednesday, upper level northwesterly wind shear is expected to increase sharply ahead of an upper tropospheric trough and system should weaken more rapidly.

Winds should remain strong in the southern semi-circle, due to the gradient effect with the subtropical anticyclone.

Except UKMO numerical weather prediction model that keeps on forecasting a zonal westwards track, most of the other available numerical weather prediction are in good agreement about a southwestwards track within the next 48 hours. IFS, ALADIN and GFS are very close one from each other until 18/00z. Then GFS recurves southwards and track the residual low between Réunion and Mauritius. Ifs stays consistent since several successive runs and forecasts a scenario with a filling low tracking north of the both sister islands.

RSMC Réunion keeps on privileging this scenario.
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317. Skyepony (Mod)
~
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Quoting Civicane49:


Prapiroon on the left. Maria on the right.


Prapiroon looks annular. Reminds me of Luis '95.
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Quoting ncstorm:
Im sure the people in the islands are thrilled to read the GW or AGW arguments postings when they currently have a tropical storm affecting them..
Somehow I seriously doubt whether any of the people in the islands are huddled in the growing darkness while the winds and rain are picking up, frantically searching through this forum's comments for guidance on what to do next. But any who are can probably find what they need just fine anyway...
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Quoting flcanes:

is dat maria or prapiroon


Prapiroon on the left. Maria on the right.

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Oops, double post.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

That's a small eye.

PINHOLE EYE LOLOL
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Paul should be up to 60-65 knots at 8pm PDT. SAB came back at hurricane intensity and satellite imagery shows an eye beginning to clear out.


That's a small eye.
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Quoting Civicane49:


Indeed, Rafael is gradually strengthening.

rafa should become a cat 2 eventually,maybe even cat 3
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Quoting Skyepony:

well,paul looks like it might go to baja for a visit
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Quoting flcanes:

slowly but surely intensifying
remember michael


Indeed, Rafael is gradually strengthening.
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306. Skyepony (Mod)
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Quoting Civicane49:

is dat maria or prapiroon
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Quoting Skyepony:
Cloud heights.

is rafa developing an eye lol
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Quoting Civicane49:

slowly but surely intensifying
remember michael
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301. Skyepony (Mod)
12:49 AM GMT on October 15, 2012
Cloud heights.
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300. TropicalAnalystwx13
12:49 AM GMT on October 15, 2012
Paul should be up to 60-65 knots at 8pm PDT. SAB came back at hurricane intensity and satellite imagery shows an eye beginning to clear out.

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299. flcanes
12:49 AM GMT on October 15, 2012
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
00z Best Track up to 60kts.

AL, 17, 2012101500, , BEST, 0, 213N, 647W, 60, 989, TS

no doubt will be hurricane tomorrow
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298. Civicane49
12:47 AM GMT on October 15, 2012
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297. Tropicsweatherpr
12:46 AM GMT on October 15, 2012
00z Best Track up to 60kts.

AL, 17, 2012101500, , BEST, 0, 213N, 647W, 60, 989, TS
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296. Skyepony (Mod)
12:45 AM GMT on October 15, 2012
BRITAIN SET FOR TRIPLE WASHOUT AS FLOODS AND GALES COME
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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.