Tropical Storm Rafael Threatens Bermuda


Tropical Storm Rafael headed northwards from the Islands of the Eastern Caribbean towards Bermuda. Steady strengthening to hurricane strength is expected.

Tropical Storm Rafael has exited the Eastern Caribbean, passing through the Virgin islands without a landfall. The worst of the storm’s winds did not affect any of the islands,  with peak gusts reaching between 40 and 50mph. However, very heavy rain has been in play for at least a day so far and could lead to some flooding and mudslides. Most of the convection associated with Rafael is on its eastern side so Puerto Rico did not see as much as the Lesser Antilles did.

Rafael appears to be organizing, but low level outflow boundaries are apparent on the west side of the circulation indicating that there is some dry air inhibiting convective processes there. If Rafael manages to dissipate the dry air, steadier and more impressive intensification is likely. Bermuda is next in line on Rafael’s forecast track. Rafael is expected to pass by Bermuda a fair distance to the east on Tuesday. This means Bermuda will be on what is currently the weaker side of the storm, and will likely be near the edge of the storm’s tropical storm wind field. Expect gusty winds, high surf, and heavy showery rain and thunderstorms on Tuesday. Bermuda is under a tropical storm watch, which means that tropical storm conditions are possible in the next 48hours.

Meanwhile, in the Pacific, Typhoon Prapiroon is threatening Japan, with a very uncertain forecast. The Japanese Meteorological Agency, the official forecasting center for the West Pacific, has a track westwards towards the Ryukyu islands including Okinawa. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center has a track northwards towards mainland Japan. Additionally, newly formed Tropical Storm Maria is expected to head northwards towards the Japanese mainland.

In the Eastern Pacific, newly formed Tropical Storm Paul is expected to head northwestward towards Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, but it should be a weakening system by that point due to cooler waters near the coast.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Anais in the Southern Indian Ocean with 120mph winds.

Even further out of the way is a very strong Tropical Cyclone Anais is in the southern Indian Ocean. According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, it rapidly strengthened into a 120mph, 949mb category 3 equivalent cyclone. This is the strongest storm to form in the Southern Indian Ocean in October. This is very early in the season for the southern hemisphere’s tropics. Anais is expected to head west-southewestwards, generally towards Madagascar and weaken on approach as it gains latitude and heads into cooler waters and higher atmospheric wind shear.

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