Strengthening Tomas headed for the Lesser Antilles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:27 AM GMT on October 30, 2010

Share this Blog
2
+

Tropical Storm Tomas has exploded into existence in spectacular fashion, becoming the nineteenth named storm of this amazingly active 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. I'm reporting to you live from the National Hurricane Center tonight, where forecasters are working hard to stay abreast of Tomas' intensification. Three hurricane specialists are on duty tonight--Dave Roberts, who is handling Tropical Storm Shary, and Robbie Berg and Dan Brown, who are focusing on Tomas. The Hurricane Hunters have just left Tomas, as of 8pm EDT, and they found a significant increase in winds. Winds at their 1500 foot flight level were 70 mph, and surface winds as measured by the SFMR instrument were near 60 mph. This supports an increase in Tomas' winds to 60 mph in tonight's 8pm EDT public advisory. Since this is such a large increase in intensity from what was forecast--Tomas was not supposed to have 60 mph winds for another 24 hours--this necessitates issuance of a special advisory package. A full set of forecast maps, a marine advisory, wind probability forecast, and a discussion just went out to the world. While all this was occurring, several phone calls to Barbados, St. Lucia, and Martinique were made, alerting the islands to the fact that a Hurricane Warning may be required with the 11pm advisory tonight. NHC has both French speaking and Spanish speaking meteorologists on staff that can coordinate with the islands that don't have English as their main language. I listened in on a 5-minute conversation in French between the weather service in Martinique and NHC meteorologist Mike Tichacek, as they discussed when Martinique may want to issue a Hurricane Warning.


Figure 1. Warren VonWerne (right) of CARCAH presents the latest data from the Air Force Hurricane Hunters to hurricane specialist Robbie Berg.

Intensity forecast for Tomas
The forecasters at NHC are puzzling over the latest intensity forecasts for Tomas. The latest intensity forecast from the GFDL, HWRF, and SHIPS models are not that impressive, and they keep Tomas as a strong tropical storm or weak hurricane for the next five days. The wind shear forecast from SHIPS is particularly odd--the latest 18Z forecast predicts high wind shear of 20+ knots beginning Sunday morning, and the previous SHIPS forecast held wind shear below 15 knots for the next five days. The latest runs by the GFS, ECMWF, and UKMET models all show a very favorable environment for intensification over the next five days over the Caribbean, with Tomas positioning itself beneath an upper level high in a light wind shear environment. The best bet is that Tomas will intensify into a major hurricane over the Central Caribbean by early next week.


Figure 2. NHC meteorologist Mike Tichacek discusses the latest intensity forecast for Tomas with the Martinique weather service (in French.) In the background, hurricane specialist Dave Roberts works on advisories for Tropical Storm Shary.

Track forecast for Tomas
After Tomas reaches the central Caribbean 4 - 6 days from now, there are two possible track scenarios depicted by the models--a continued westerly motion towards Nicaragua, or a sharp turn to the north, with a track over Hispaniola or Puerto Rico. Steering currents will be weak, and we'll just have to wait and see how the steering currents evolve.

Tomas' formation location unprecedented this late in the season
Tomas' formation ties 2010 with 1995 and 1887 for 3rd place for most number of named storms in an Atlantic hurricane season. Only 2005 (28 named storms) and 1933 (21 named storms) were busier. Atlantic hurricane records go back to 1851, though there were likely many missed named storms prior to the beginning of satellite coverage in the mid-1960s.

The formation of a tropical storm so far south and east this late in the season is unprecedented in the historical record; no named storm has ever been present east of the Lesser Antilles (60°W) and south of 12°N latitude so late in the year. Hurricane Six of 1896 came close--it was also a tropical storm south of 12°N and east of 60°W on October 29, but nine hours earlier in the day. That storm recurved to the north and missed the Lesser Antilles. Tomas' track through the southern Lesser Antilles so late in the year is unprecedented. There have been only two other tropical storms that formed after October 15 south of 12°N and east of 60°W: Hurricane Jose, which was a tropical storm in that region on October 18, 1999, and Tropical Storm Nicolas, on October 16, 2003. Tomas most reminds me of Hurricane Joan of 1988, which was a tropical storm on October 14 near Tomas' current location, and later strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane that hit Nicaragua.

Another unusual aspect of Tomas' formation is that we now have two simultaneous named storms in the Atlantic Ocean on October 29. There have been only four hurricane seasons since 1851 that have had two simultaneous named storms later in the year. The record was set way back in 1887, when Hurricane Eighteen and Tropical Storm Nineteen were both active on December 8. There were three years that had simultaneous November named storms: 1932, 1961, and 2001.

Next update
I'll have more late Saturday morning.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 628 - 578

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19Blog Index

Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1002
627. Gorty
To my untrianed eye, it seems like Tomas is not doing very good. He seems disorganized to me with a hard to find center.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
track chart will shift to the south, TOMAS is tracking west now.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1002
Quoting LightningCharmer:
The conditions in Haiti are already awful and now with Cholera now afflicting hundreds of people, the last thing they need is a direct hit or a near miss from a major hurricane.
so what can be done? i look for intensification of this system more than nhc could be a major by tomorrow
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jambev:
Yes, both Jamaica and Haiti need to be on guard. However, the model consensus now seems to be pointing towards Hispaniola and the NHC is also starting to trend that way.
The conditions in Haiti are already awful and now with Cholera now afflicting hundreds of people, the last thing they need is a direct hit or a near miss from a major hurricane.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Lsst line in the NHC 5am Discussion..."Late in the period, the forward speed is quite slow due to the LARGE UNCERTAINTY in the timing and sharpness of the potiential Northward turn"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 954FtLCane:
Tomas will not hit Puerto Rico. I don't often make predictions but this one is a fact!


although chances for PR are low, forecast is still uncertain..
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5988
Quoting DestinJeff:
Free at last! Free at last!

Thank KOTG Almighty, I'm free at last!


Welcome back, Jeff. Missed ya!
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
Quoting Triniman:
It's sound like it's really bad in Barbados, listening to VOB 92.9 fm live http://vob929.ocmnet.net/voblive.html



Bad link.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Tomas will not hit Puerto Rico. I don't like to make predictions but this is a fact!
What Ike is to FL I am to Puerto Rico.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Yes, both Jamaica and Haiti need to be on guard. However, the model consensus now seems to be pointing towards Hispaniola and the NHC is also starting to trend that way.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:


Depends on what you mean the US... because PR is part of the US and there is about a 25% chance of a hit there
Even without a direct hit, if Tomas is a heavy rainmaker, damage could be extensive. Again, and not to sound like a broken record but rain (non-surge) flooding is the leading result of fatalities in tropical systems. Those in Puerto Rico should be prepared and aware.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
06z HWRF

HWRF trending east again. I'm wondering why it is so different than the other models... although much have aslo shifted east at 2AM..
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5988
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Recon is finding 70 knt flight level winds and 55 knt surface winds and they have not even started to turn toward the center yet
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

It looks like St Vincent and St Lucia are in the line of fire.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It's sound like it's really bad in Barbados, listening to VOB 92.9 fm live http://vob929.ocmnet.net/voblive.html
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:
5:00 AM AST Sat Oct 30
Location: 12.9N 59.5W
Max sustained: 70 mph
Moving: WNW at 15 mph
Min pressure: 994 mb

...........................................

...TOMAS CAUSES DAMAGE ON BARBADOS...NOW HEADING TOWARD THE NORTHERN WINDWARD ISLANDS AT NEAR-HURRICANE STRENGTH...
8:00 AM AST Sat Oct 30
Location: 13.1N 60.1W
Max sustained: 70 mph
Moving: WNW at 15 mph
Min pressure: 993 mb

Click for Loop

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 954FtLCane:
Link
Here's one for ya "cat poop causes hookworm epedemic on Miami Beach". The chamber of commerce will not be happy if they read this. This is an isolated area.
Tomas' first visible !!!
Now I can't walk on the beach barefoot.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
605. IKE
5:00 AM AST Sat Oct 30
Location: 12.9°N 59.5°W
Max sustained: 70 mph
Moving: WNW at 15 mph
Min pressure: 994 mb

...........................................

...TOMAS CAUSES DAMAGE ON BARBADOS...NOW HEADING TOWARD THE NORTHERN WINDWARD ISLANDS AT NEAR-HURRICANE STRENGTH...
8:00 AM AST Sat Oct 30
Location: 13.1°N 60.1°W
Max sustained: 70 mph
Moving: WNW at 15 mph
Min pressure: 993 mb
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:


I agree 100%, and believe that will be official very shortly...
Good Morning! I agree, and those in Jamaica and Haiti should take him seriously. Haiti is already going through enough; this could be devastating.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting emcf30:

I agree, There appears to be much more damage with a much weaker storm. They are reporting houses tumbled ontop of each other and wide spread damage to roofs and ect. emergency management just stated worst is yet to come.


Sad, good luck to them
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5988
Quoting clwstmchasr:


I'll give it about 1% chance.
Great
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:


Depends on what you mean the US... because PR is part of the US and there is about a 25% chance of a hit there
Lower 48
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:

Probably, though it would be a very small chance. Say 1-in-150?
I like those odds. There was some debate on here last night that the front would not pull Tomas poleward as fast and the N Gulf Coast may have a problem with Tomas.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting scott39:
Goodmorning, Is there any chance at all of Tomas hitting the US?


Depends on what you mean the US... because PR is part of the US and there is about a 25% chance of a hit there
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting scott39:
Goodmorning, Is there any chance at all of Tomas hitting the US?

It doesn't look like it at this time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting scott39:
Goodmorning, Is there any chance at all of Tomas hitting the US?

Probably, though it would be a very small chance. Say 1-in-150?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormwatcherCI:


Looks to me like NHC track takes it straight to Jamaica and a good distance south of Puerto Rico.

OMG Xtrap hits my house
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
593. JRRP
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5482
Goodmorning, Is there any chance at all of Tomas hitting the US?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
They're finding 50 knots surface winds (uncontaminated) and they're still 20-30 miles or so from the eye.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaribBoy:


Thanksfully that's not another Earl intensity wise. Earl's southern eyewall affected the N Lesser Antilles as a cat 3 hurricane with little roofs damage overall. The Northern islands would be more accustomed with intense storms.

I agree, There appears to be much more damage with a much weaker storm. They are reporting houses tumbled ontop of each other and wide spread damage to roofs and ect. emergency management just stated worst is yet to come.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I am thinking 70 knts surface winds and close to 95 knt flight level winds on the next pass
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 954FtLCane:

PR wishcaster!


Looks to me like NHC track takes it straight to Jamaica and a good distance south of Puerto Rico.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:


I agree 100%, and believe that will be official very shortly...


Quite a year to have two hurricanes in late October at the same time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:


I think Tomas is a hurricane right now personally.


I agree 100%, and believe that will be official very shortly...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:


Yes. They came in on the WSW part of the eye and exited on the SSE; the winds will doubtless be considerably higher on the next pass if they puncture it on the visibly stronger NE quadrant...


I think Tomas is a hurricane right now personally.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
URNT12 KNHC 301130
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL212010
A. 30/10:47:40Z
B. 12 deg 59 min N
059 deg 52 min W
C. 700 mb 3033 m
D. 51 kt
E. 298 deg 23 nm
F. 020 deg 52 kt
G. 301 deg 57 nm
H. EXTRAP 993 mb
I. 10 C / 3043 m
J. 13 C / 3046 m
K. 1 C / NA
L. SPIRAL EYEWALL
M. E36/50/30
N. 12345 / 7
O. 0.02 / 1 nm
P. AF300 0221A TOMAS OB 04
MAX FL WIND 52 KT NW QUAD 10:31:30Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM DROPSONDE
SEVERAL SPIRAL BANDS WRAPPING IN TO CTR FROM NORTH
;



Yes. They came in on the WSW part of the eye and exited on the SSE; the winds will doubtless be considerably higher on the next pass if they puncture it on the visibly stronger NE quadrant...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting poknsnok:
NHC stubborn with track Tomas to be closer to PR than Jamaica

PR wishcaster!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
582. SLU
Barbados has received a serious blow from Tomas. St Lucia and St. Vincent need to be prepared for a tough day ahead. Based on the radar and track, St. Lucia could be the worst affected since it will end up in the northern quadrant.
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4926
Quoting emcf30:

Thanks for this link. Seems like lots of damage on the Island. They are saying it has gotten rally bad in the past 15 min. Lady just called seemed to be trapped in house and could no get thru to emergency personnel. Lots of large trees down. Interesting listening


Thanksfully that's not another Earl intensity wise. Earl's southern eyewall affected the N Lesser Antilles as a cat 3 hurricane with little roofs damage overall. The Northern islands would be more accustomed with intense storms.
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5988
Quoting DestinJeff:
Free at last! Free at last!

Thank KOTG Almighty, I'm free at last!

Good Morning!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FFtrombi:
Hurricane hunters found a minimum pressure of 992mb so far in Tomas.
URNT12 KNHC 301130
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL212010
A. 30/10:47:40Z
B. 12 deg 59 min N
059 deg 52 min W
C. 700 mb 3033 m
D. 51 kt
E. 298 deg 23 nm
F. 020 deg 52 kt
G. 301 deg 57 nm
H. EXTRAP 993 mb
I. 10 C / 3043 m
J. 13 C / 3046 m
K. 1 C / NA
L. SPIRAL EYEWALL
M. E36/50/30
N. 12345 / 7
O. 0.02 / 1 nm
P. AF300 0221A TOMAS OB 04
MAX FL WIND 52 KT NW QUAD 10:31:30Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM DROPSONDE
SEVERAL SPIRAL BANDS WRAPPING IN TO CTR FROM NORTH
;

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting mbjjm:

Lots of roofs blown off in Barbados

Live radio from Barbados

Thanks for the link! wow they are lucky it's only a trop storm/cat1
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 628 - 578

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.