I'm a CMU Honors student and love meteorology and extreme weather. I've been fascinated by weather since I was 5, and plan on becoming a meteorologist
By: wxchaser97 , 12:23 PM GMT on October 15, 2012
TS Rafael formed on Friday night from a vigorous tropical wave. He skipped TD status as he already had tropical storm force winds. Conditions weren't perfect for a while which kept him lopsided to the right. Shear has since decreased and a uniform CDO has formed over the center. Currently Rafael has 70mph winds, a 988mb pressure, and is moving NNW at 10mph. Convection continues to organize over the center and his circulation is strengthening. Rafael doesn't need much more increases in organization and wind speed to become a hurricane.
While Rafael is not yet quite a hurricane, at least not officially, he continues to look better. Over the past day He began to look like a uniform tropical storm. He wasn't too lopsided or sheared or affected in other areas. With a CDO and some banding Rafael doesn't need much more to be upgraded to a hurricane. While ADT and satellite estimates kept him just below a hurricane, recon is investigating the storm and finding a little different measurements. They are finding peak flight level winds around 80kts which would equal to around 65kts at the surface, a hurricane. Rafael will very likely/should be a hurricane at 11am EDT today. The environment around Rafael continues to still support some strengthening. Yeah there is still some shear but Rafael can and is handling it nicely and I don't expect for there to be many problems. After 60-72hrs shear will increase and SST's will decrease which will weaken Rafael and turn him into an extra-tropical storm.
Rafael's track is easier to forecast than some storms earlier in the year. There is model consistency and an easier to see/analyze environment. Currently a ridge resides to Rafael's north and this is affecting his track. Right now he is getting pushed west while trying to go more to the north. However a trough in the eastern US is creating a weakness in the ridge and Rafael will go toward that weakness. That trough should then pick up Rafael and take him off to the NE away from land. Most models favor a solution similar to this and so does the NHC. There is some timing issues in exactly where/when Rafael goes but a general turn to the north and then northeast is expected. Bermuda is under a tropical storm watch due to a good consensus on at least TS conditions affecting Bermuda. Canada and the US shouldn't see any major impacts from Rafael.
The GFS continues to develop one to two systems near the Caribbean in the next two weeks. It has been showing this for several days now so consistency is there. When the GFS gets consistent with showing development you know there is a really good chance development will occur. The environment should be favorable for an intensifying cyclone. A strong mjo pulse, lower shear, and high TCHP and SST values all favor TS formation. We will have to watch the Caribbean and surrounding areas for Sandy and Tony over the next couple weeks.
A strong tropical wave developed into Paul a couple days ago. This storm has been gathering strength for all of his life. He is now up to 80mph winds and a 986mb pressure. A eye and eyewall is developing per microwave imagery and a CDO covers the center. The environment around Paul favors more strengthening today. After today conditions will deteriorate extremely and Paul should rapidly weaken down to a TD. Paul will travel north until the Baja before paralleling the coast. He could provide impacts to the southern part of the Baja of California. Other than Paul there is no tropical development expected in the next two days.
Have a great day everyone and here is a link to my Berkley, MI forecast blog, Link.
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