Response Updates

All About Hurricane Rafael

Reported by Convoy of Hope

With each year’s Atlantic hurricane season, you can access a list of potential names for that year’s tropical storms and hurricanes.

Rafael is the 17th name on the list for 2024.

The list originates and is recycled with five other lists every six years by the World Meteorological Organization.

A name is retired and replaced when a storm with that name causes extreme property damage and loss of life.

While some hurricane names have a varied and multiyear history — the name “Arlene,” for example, has been used for 12 Atlantic cyclones since 1959 — Rafael has only been used once.

Hurricane Rafael 2012
Hurricane Rafael as it reaches peak intensity on October 16, 2012.

Placed on the list of storm names for the first time in 1982, Rafael was unused until 30 years later when Hurricane Rafael 2012 briefly developed in the Caribbean.

Fun Hurricane Fact

It wasn’t until 1979 that the World Meteorological Organization and the U.S. National Weather Service
began creating new lists of names that included both women’s and men’s names.

Phases of Tropical Cyclones

All named storms are a form of tropical cyclone — a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has a closed low-level circulation.

Phase 1: Tropical Depression

Early in a cyclone’s development, as a tropical depression, wind speeds are less than 39 mph.

Tropical depressions are not named but are numbered and tracked in case they grow into tropical storms or hurricanes.

Phase 2: Tropical Storm

Should a sufficiently powerful weather system develop late enough this season with a sustained wind speed of 39 mph, Tropical Storm Rafael will make its debut.

Phase 3: Hurricane

If that speed reaches 74 mph, Hurricane Rafael will enter the record books

If you live in an area where such a storm system is expected, take all necessary precautions, keep up to date on reports of the storm’s path, and don’t underestimate the potential impact to your community.

When Was Hurricane Rafael?

The 17th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, Hurricane Rafael affected a few islands in the Caribbean.

Where Did Hurricane Rafael Hit?

Often, when a hurricane is named, its greatest strength develops at sea, and it downgrades to a tropical storm before reaching land.

Tropical Storm Rafael in 2012 created some heavy rain and wind on several Caribbean islands, but only reached peak hurricane strength as it moved north in the Atlantic toward Nova Scotia.

Its second landfall occurred in Portugal, when only the remnants of the weather system remained.

Hurricane Bret

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What Category Was Hurricane Rafael?

Rafael achieved Category 1 hurricane status as it moved north in the Atlantic. Its highest recorded winds reached 90 mph.

  • • A Category 1 hurricane has sustained wind speeds of at least 74 mph 10 meters above the ground surface when averaged over a 1-minute period.
  • • A Category 1 designation is used for winds with speeds through 95 mph.
  • • By the time you reach Category 5, those wind speeds are equal or greater than 157 mph.
  • There is no top limit, so the highest a hurricane can be rated is as a Category 5 regardless of how much its winds exceed 157 mph.

This evaluation system is called the Saffir-Simpson scale.

What Time Will Hurricane Rafael Make Landfall?

If you research, “What time did Hurricane Rafael make landfall?” you won’t find any data because Rafael never reached hurricane status in 2012.

More importantly, there is no correlation between the landfall of a historic hurricane and when a current storm system might reach land.

No data from the past will help you prepare if Rafael becomes a significant storm in 2024.

It’s wise to stay up to date on weather forecasts and be aware of a specific storm’s estimated landfall if a current storm is predicted to reach your region. Thanks to satellite and radar imagery, those predictions can be very accurate, giving you plenty of time to prepare.

Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the last minute to reach a safe area.

This article will be updated should more details about Rafael become available in 2024.

How Many People Died in Hurricane Rafael?

Tropical Storm Rafael was connected with one fatality on the island of Guadeloupe when a woman tried to drive her car across a flooded roadway.

It’s very important to be aware of the local conditions caused by a weather system and take whatever precautions are necessary.

What Was the Path of Hurricane Rafael?

Should Rafael develop into a hurricane this year, you’ll find a lot of daily information on its current path.

In many cases, the beginning of such a path is in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa. As that system moves west across the Atlantic, often in the general direction of the Caribbean, it can strengthen and organize into a tropical storm and then a hurricane.

In 2012, Rafael’s earliest formation resulted from a weather system off the coast of West Africa. By the time that system had developed into a hurricane and then dissipated, Rafael had traveled all the way across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, all the way north past Canada, and then traveled in a loop north to Greenland before its final approach to Portugal.

Convoy of Hope & Hurricanes

Convoy of Hope is a faith-based nonprofit organization serving the poor and hungry in dozens of program countries around the world.

Because natural disasters have such a deep and negative impact on communities, Convoy views disaster response as integral to its larger mission.

Food, water, and other key resources quickly become scarce following hurricanes and other disasters.

Convoy of Hope Disaster Services responds to natural disasters around the world — earthquakes, floods, wildfires, hurricanes, and drought — offering help and hope to people facing some of the most challenging circumstances in their lives.

The nonprofit, faith-based organization pursues a driving passion to feed the world through children’s feeding initiatives, community outreach, and disaster response.

To view Convoy’s 2023 response to Hurricane Idalia, watch the video above.

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Convoy of Hope


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