Hurricanes Rafael and Paul


Hurricane Rafael nears Bermuda, heading NNE at 23mph according to the 2pmEDT advisory from the National Hurricane Center. GOES East Imagery of Rafael, October 16th 2012. Bermuda is the pink dot in the top of the image.

Tropical Storm Rafael left the Eastern Caribbean, flooding in its wake, and strengthened overnight into a high end category one hurricane with 90mph winds. The storm is moving fairly quickly to the north-northeast and is expected to pass more than 100miles to the east of Bermuda tonight. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Bermuda, and despite Rafael now being a hurricane, hurricane advisories shouldn’t be necessary as hurricane conditions aren’t expected in Bermuda because Rafael will be so far away. As of 2pm EDT Rafael was 195miles away with 85mph winds and 969mb pressure, a slight weakening from earlier today.

Wind…Expect tropical storm force winds with storm force gusts, especially in exposed locations and in the eastern parishes. Winds are expected to reach tropical storm force (>39mph) later this afternoon or early this evening, and shift from the east-southeast to northeast, and through to northwest as Rafael passes. On exposed hill tops, wind gusts could reach as high as 75mph in squalls. This could result in some tree damage and power outages. Expect winds to die down overnight and a cooler, less humid airmass should start to move in behind Rafael.

Flooding… Abnormally high tides associated with seasonal fluctuations combined with strong winds could result in areas of over wash onto low lying coastal roadways in areas of onshore winds. Meanwhile, the abnormal tides will make minor-moderate rainwater flooding more likely in low-lying areas that flood during heavy rain events as over 2″ of rain is possible. 

Hurricane Paul nearing Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula for a landfall. GOES imagery shows the degrading structure of the hurricane. October 16th 2012.

In the East Pacific, Hurricane Paul is making landfall in Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula with 90mph winds. It was forecast to weaken more before landfall, but an unexpected increase in forward speed meant that the storm made it to the coast before weakening significantly. Fortunately, the storm has a small area of high winds and is making landfall in a fairly rural area of the Peninsula. Hurricane Warnings are in effect for both sides of the peninsula near Cabo San Lazaro, where Paul appears to be making landfall.

WindTropical storm conditions are likely already occurring on the coast, and hurricane conditions are not too far behind if not already occurring. Unfortunately, there are few observations from the area to verify this. Isolated tornadoes are also possible to the right of Paul’s track.

Rain… Moisture from Hurricane Paul is producing heavy rain in a fairly arid part of Mexico, this makes flash flooding and mudslides a very real threat to life and property and residents should be aware of disaster prevention information issued by local emergency managers and Mexico’s National Weather Service. Over 2 inches of rain has already fallen in parts of Mexico near Hurricane Paul. Some of this moisture could make it into the United States and enhance a frontal system entering the southern Great Plains in the coming days.

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