Monday, October 15, 2012

Hurricane Rafael: October 15, Update B

Rafael is behaving with bienseance. Heehee… I’ve been waiting for a well-behaved storm so I could sneak that in somewhere. J

The high pressure ahead of him did, indeed, dissipate and he did make that forecast northward turn and is picking up speed (as in velocity, not drugs!!) as I write. He is currently at around 24.7N, 65.7W, heading N at 10mph. I agree with the NHC that his center will be close to, but east of Bermuda.

Hurricane hunter planes sent into Rafael this afternoon found that he has winds of 85mph, central pressure of 974mb. This makes him a mid-sized Cat 1 storm (cat 1 range: 74-95mph). This much I also agree with. But, in case you were wondering, he didn’t suddenly intensify from a 70mph Tropical Storm to an 85mph hurricane in 3 hours! In my opinion he was a hurricane earlier today, based on the satellite and wind analyses, and the NHC were waiting for the planes to report back. As you can see from this satellite image, a hurricane of this intensity does not have to have an eye:

He has some decent outflow (the clouds are spread outward like a rotary saw) which indicates that he has a good structure, even though he is being impacted by wind shear (the clouds are a bit messy on the eastern side). The circulation is strong throughout the troposphere and there is a lot of convection, with plenty of thunderstorms (the gray and red parts of the satellite image).

He will be moving into a region of higher wind shear, which should inhibit too much more development. However he is still over warm water with surface temperatures of around 28 deg C, and the upper 75m is warmer than 26 deg C, so I think he’ll remain a cat 1 tomorrow. He is forecast to zoom past Bermuda tomorrow evening/night, as a hurricane. I hope you guys have your wellie boots out and polished! (And it might get a bit breezy).

Speaking of breezy (segueway numero uno ;-))... if you want a break from tropical stuff, here’s a blog about a paleoceanographer I know who is on a fun science expedition in Antarctica, where it can get quite ‘breezy’ too ( In some of her entries she describes life on board a research vessel. It reminds me of the days when I used to be on research vessels on long cruises. That was a long time ago. Back when smoke signals were still modern ... convenient really, especially when the engine caught fire…

And speaking of paleoceanographers (segueway numero two ;-)), Greta from Florida sent me this photo, taken at a place with lots of large models of dinosaurs near a large city in Florida (mentioning no names). You may find it very umm… ‘educational’.  ;-)

Ciao for now!

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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.


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