Status Report

NASA MODIS Image of the Day: October 18, 2012 – Tropical Storm Rafael (17L) in the Atlantic Ocean

By SpaceRef Editor
October 18, 2012
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On October 15, 2012, Tropical Storm Rafael swirled in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of the Dominican Republic. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite at 14:55 UTC (10:55 a.m. EDT) on that same day. On Oct. 15 at 8 a.m. EDT, Rafael was approaching hurricane strength with maximum sustained winds near 70 mph (110 km/h). It was located about 290 miles (465 km) north of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and 680 miles (1,090 miles) south of Bermuda. In this image, the storm appears strongly asymmetric, with the heaviest thunderstorms and showers concentrated east of the center of circulation, and convection bands stretching far to the north and to the east. An eye had not yet formed, although high clouds are in evidence at Rafael’s center. After bringing rains and wind, but little damage, to the Leeward and surrounding islands, the storm experienced a strong strengthening episode late on October 15, according the National Hurricane Center (NHC). By 11:00 p.m. EDT Rafael had attained hurricane strength, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (140 km/h), and was moving rapidly towards Bermuda. Rafael blew past Bermuda on the afternoon on October 16 as a Category 1 Hurricane, with 85 mph (140 km/h) maximum sustained winds. The outer bands covered the 21-square-mile island, bringing tropical storm force winds and heavy rain with them. According to the Bermuda Electric Light Company, about 600 homes lost power, but little other damage was reported. The storm then sped quickly towards the north-northeast at 29 mph, and began to weaken. At 1500 UTC on October 17, Rafael’s speedy and stormy life as cyclone was over. The NHC issued its last advisory on Rafael at that time, and declared that the storm had become extratropical. The system will remain relatively powerful over the North Atlantic Ocean for the next several days, and is expected to complete a cyclonic loop around a deep layer low over the north-central Atlantic before dissipating.

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SpaceRef staff editor.