Unprecedented Hurricane Tomas pounding the Lesser Antilles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:38 PM GMT on October 30, 2010

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Hurricane Tomas, an unprecedented Lesser Antilles hurricane for so late in the season, is bearing down on the islands of St. Lucia and St. Vincent with Category 1 winds of 75 mph. Recent radar imagery from the Martinique radar shows that Tomas is still in the organizing stage, with an eyewall that just closed off, and a weak area of echoes on the south side, due to modest wind shear of 10 knots caused by southerly upper-level winds. The Hurricane Hunters reported top surface winds in the northern eyewall near 75 mph. St.Lucia figures to get the worst blow from Tomas, as this island will experience the strong right-front quadrant of the storm--the north eyewall. Winds on the island were sustained at 46 mph, gusting to 67 mph, at 11am EDT. Winds at Barbados peaked at 37 mph, gusting to 56 mph, early this morning, and the pressure bottomed out at 994 mb. Satellite loops of Tomas show a large and well-organized Cape Verdes-type hurricane, with good upper level outflow on all sides except the south, and an impressive amount of heavy thunderstorm activity. This is a very dangerous hurricane that is just beginning to get going. You can follow the progress of Tomas through the islands today with our wundermap zoomed in on St. Lucia.


Figure 1. Morning radar image from the Martinique radar shows the eye of Tomas moving between the islands of St, Lucia to the north and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the south. The southern portion of the eyewall had just closed off with this image. Image credit: Meteo France.

Intensity forecast for Tomas
Now that the eyewall of Tomas has completely closed off, a period of steady and possibly rapid intensification lasting until Sunday afternoon is likely. The intensification rate may then be slowed by an increasing flow of southwesterly upper-level winds, which are expected to bring dry air and a moderate 15 - 20 knots of wind shear to Tomas Sunday through Tuesday, according to the latest SHIPS model forecast. Shear is then expected to relent, allowing more intensification on Wednesday. Water temperatures are a record warm 29.5°C and the Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential--a measure of the total heat content of the ocean--is a very high 100 kJ/cm^2, which is very favorable for rapid intensification. I expect the Tomas will strengthen to a Category 3 or 4 hurricane by Wednesday.


Figure 2. Hurricane specialists Robbie Berg (background) and Dan Brown (foreground) discuss the latest data on Tomas last night at the National Hurricane Center.

Track forecast for Tomas
The computer models have come into better agreement this morning that after Tomas reaches the central Caribbean 4 - 5 days from now, a turn to the north or northeast is likely, in response to a strong trough of low pressure expected to develop over the Eastern U.S. The exact timing of this turn to the north or northeast is difficult to predict at this time, as steering currents will be weak in the Caribbean after Tomas passes through the Lesser Antilles today and Sunday. At this time, is appears that the Dominican Republic and Haiti are most at risk from a strike by Tomas, though the storm could move as far west as Jamaica, or as far east as the northern Lesser Antilles Islands.


Figure 3. Hurricane specialist Dan Brown computes Tomas' radius of tropical storm force winds using the old-fashioned paper track plot and dividers technique. Hurricane specialists at NHC commonly use a paper track plot to mark all storm center fixes and compute the current motion of the storm. A storm's current heading and speed in NHC advisories is usually a 12-hour average of the motion up until the final fix position.

Tomas, Shary, and the 2010 hurricane season in perspective
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 intensification of Shary and Tomas into hurricanes today brings the total number of hurricanes this season to twelve, tying 2010 with 1969 and 1887 for second place for most hurricanes in a season. The record is held by 2005 with fifteen hurricanes, and I don't think we'll beat that record this year!

The formation of Tomas 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 (61.5°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 61.5°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 61.5°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 a storm I flew into with the Hurricane Hunters--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. According to Chenoweth (2008), Tomas is the first tropical storm to cross through the Lesser Antilles Islands south of 16°N this late in the year since 1724. In that year, a tropical storm on 12 November crossed the islands at 13.7°N 61.5°W, and later became a hurricane that affected Jamaica. There was also a hurricane on 30 October 1671 that crossed 61.5°W at 13.3°N, and did damage on Barbados.

Another unusual aspect of Tomas' formation is that we now have two simultaneous hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean on October 30. There has been only one hurricane season since 1851 that had had two simultaneous hurricanes later in the year--1932, when Hurricane Ten and Hurricane Eleven both existed November 7 - 10. Today is also the 5th latest date in the season that there have been two simultaneous named storms in the Atlantic. 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.

References
Chenoweth, M. and D. Divine (2008), "A document-based 318-year record of tropical cyclones in the Lesser Antilles, 1690-2007", Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9, doi:10.1029/2008GC002066.

Next update
I'll have more on Sunday by 3pm EDT. I'm headed home to Michigan today, after a very valuable week here at the National Hurricane Center. The experience gave me a new appreciatation for just how good the forecasters are at what they do. NHC's hurricane experts are truly world-class, and we are very fortunate to have such a talented group of hard-working forecasters keeping us informed on the dangers we face from Atlantic hurricanes.

Jeff Masters

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993. SLU
Quoting Triniweatherboy:
SLU, Im feelin it for st lucia as well, i lived in corinth, denry goodland n beaseajour for about 4 yrs while i was on vaction bcuz my father used to work dere. But some good rain iz approachin trinidad, but hope st. lucia and the rest of the islands could recover from tomas as soon as possible


Thank you very much. I too now live in Trinidad and i'm trying my best to find info on St. Lucia but it is hard to come by.

I noticed Trinidad could get some rains tonight too ...
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4889
...CENTER OF TOMAS NOW OVER THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN SEA...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS STILL OCCURRING IN PORTIONS OF THE WINDWARD ISLANDS...
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Quoting pottery:
Good Evening all.
Just checking in.
Reading back.....


Evening elder statesman.. how was the Party.. dry I hope.
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Good Evening all.
Just checking in.
Reading back.....
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989. SLU
000
WTNT41 KNHC 310246
TCDAT1
HURRICANE TOMAS DISCUSSION NUMBER 8
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL212010
1100 PM AST SAT OCT 30 2010

THE STRUCTURE OF TOMAS HAS CHANGED LITTLE SINCE THE TIME THE ST.
LUCIA WEATHER SERVICE REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS ON THAT ISLAND OF AT
LEAST 80 KT AROUND 2130 UTC.


92 miles per hour.
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4889
Barbados News
Link

Sat, October 30, 2010 - 8:25 PM

Emergency crews from the Barbados Light and Power are feverishly working to restore to power to homes across the island after the passing of Tropical Storm Tomas, later ugraded to a hurricane when it passed Barbados.
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Quoting palmasdelrio:
Why are you calling it big fish when it's already caused damaged on the eastern carib islands? They don't count?


he was referring to me... not calling it a fish.
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Was trailing rain band some 20 hours after eye of Ivan passed due north of Aruba that left us with about 6" of rain in 6 hours.
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SLU, Im feelin it for st lucia as well, i lived in corinth, denry goodland n beaseajour for about 4 yrs while i was on vaction bcuz my father used to work dere. But some good rain iz approachin trinidad, but hope st. lucia and the rest of the islands could recover from tomas as soon as possible
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Even the GFS has now changed and does not deepen the TRough as much as early this morning...
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Evening all. I see the 2010 season October uptick is in full swing... Tomas is looking very good for a CV-type hurricane on 30 OCT.... In the old days Tomas might indeed get named for el dia de los santos....

I'm also watching the S hemisphere with great interest. We've already seen activity in two of the three basins there, and November is the equivalent of our May hurricane-wise... wonder if the early activity means we're going to see an active season down under.

Quoting brohavwx:
Well, Barbados woke up to a nasty surprise this morning and it was only strong T.S. winds but higher gusts, but plenty of damage and hardly any preparation.

We're all just wondering what a Cat. 2 or 3 would do.
I was thinking as I looked at the reports about Tomas this a.m. that it's been quite some time since Barbados has had more than minimal TS winds from a storm; I'm sure people were surprised this morning to discover there was practically a hurricane overhead...
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
big fish its not going into the GOM or the panhandle
Why are you calling it big fish when it's already caused damaged on the eastern carib islands? They don't count?
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Quoting lordhuracan01:


aqui en azua donde yo vivo hay una que se llama tambie loma culo de maco... no sabia de la otra... pero no pudireon ponerles otro nombre jajaja y el maco que ni cintura tine jaja


son nombres propios de nuestras tierras....
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978. SLU
Quoting Cat5hit:
SLU - I am deeply saddened to hear of the tragedy on St. Lucia.


TAMPASPIN
-One thing I have learned is that what is supposed to happen in weather doesn't always. It is always subject to change.


Quoting Cocotrini:


Hope its not to bad in the morning, hope you keep posting info on here I know lots of us in T&T would love to know what is going on with our island neighbors.


Thanks you. I will keep you guys posted.
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4889
Quoting sunlinepr:


Existe de verdad en RD

Parque Nacional Nalga del Maco - Cueva de la Sidra o de la Cidra
Descripción
Descripción
Está localizado en el extremo occidental de la cordillera Central. La loma Nalga de Maco pertenece al municipio de Pedro Santana, provincia Elías Piña y está ubicada al Norte. Limita al Norte con el municipio de Los Almácigos en la provincia Santiago Rodríguez, al Sur con el propio municipio a que pertenece, al Este con el parque nacional Armando Bermúdez, y al Oeste con el municipio de Restauración en la provincia de Dajabón. Su extensión territorial es de 280 quilómetros cuadrados.


aqui en azua donde yo vivo hay una que se llama tambie loma culo de maco... no sabia de la otra... pero no pudireon ponerles otro nombre jajaja y el maco que ni cintura tine jaja
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For some that think they know everything.......LOL
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Yap, Gnite all
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Nite All
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Nite Kman.......much will be know by this time tomorrow evening.

I wonder if the NHC will talk about the possibility of the longwave not moving SE in the discussion.
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Quoting SLU:


Thank you. It's a real mess up there. I'm afraid to see the pictures that first light tomorrow will bring.


Hope its not to bad in the morning, hope you keep posting info on here I know lots of us in T&T would love to know what is going on with our island neighbors.
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Quoting kmanislander:
Well I am out for the night. Lots of open ocean before we see what Tomas is up to.

Back tomorrow.

good night.


Nite Kman.......much will be know by this time tomorrow evening.
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Quoting lordhuracan01:


loma culo de maco


Existe de verdad en RD

Parque Nacional Nalga del Maco - Cueva de la Sidra o de la Cidra
Descripci%uFFFDn
Est%uFFFD localizado en el extremo occidental de la cordillera Central.
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Well I am out for the night. Lots of open ocean before we see what Tomas is up to.

Back tomorrow.

good night.
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
he's going to have to loose that tail of his if he wants to go through any rapid deepening.


No he doesn't.
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Quoting Cat5hit:


Yep. While at the moment a slim chance, there is still a chance. Gotta keep an eye on Tomas.


Shear is keeping Tomas from getting even stronger. Looks like some MOdels are showing a weaker Tomas because of Shear in 36hrs. If that happens then Tomas will come much further West and won't feel the Trough nearly as much.
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963. SLU
Quoting Cocotrini:


Sorry to hear that SLU.


Thank you. It's a real mess up there. I'm afraid to see the pictures that first light tomorrow will bring.
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4889
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
big fish its not going into the GOM or the panhandle


I am aware of that... thats why I was asking what he was trying to say.
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Quoting Cat5hit:
Keeperofthegate - Why are there two photos?
the first animation is infared the second water vapour
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960. JRRP
Link

well see you later
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5480
959. JRRP
Quoting lordhuracan01:


loma culo de maco

suena raro asi jejejeje
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5480
i wander how strong at 11? well i guess we will find out...weatherlover94 signing off for tonight talk to you all tomorrow morning
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Tomas' eye still obscured by CDO. Hot tower collapse could add extra spin into the storm's eyewall and boost rapid intensification.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


So your saying you think Thomas is going into the GOM, and in to the panhandle.. based on one model?
big fish its not going into the GOM or the panhandle
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St. Lucia WunderMap®
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Looks to be slowing or stalling and the eye is becoming a bit ragged.
Animation
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TOMAS

Rainbow image





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952. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)


Tropical Cyclone Anggrek
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RI/21L/H/T/C2
MARK
13.88n/62.40w


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Quoting SLU:
Very disturbing news of possible loss of life starting to come out of St. Lucia.

Just got off the phone with my brother and the rain continues to hammer down in St. Lucia. This makes it about 5 hours of heavy and continuous rains on top of moderate and persistent rain from about 6 or 7am this morning.

He also told me that the Choc bridge, along the Castries/Gros Islet Highway, has collapsed with a vehicle on it trying to cross and the vehicle also fell into the river. And another vehicle got trapped under a bridge an it is believed to have had people onboard. Also a minibus caught fire and I was told that someone was also in the vehicle. All of this is not official since information coming out of St. Lucia is very, very limited given that all radio stations are off air and there is an islandwide power failure.


Sorry to hear that SLU.
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Quoting JRRP:

Loma Nalga de Maco tambn sobre los 2000 metros de altura


loma culo de maco
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Quoting JRRP:

Loma Nalga de Maco tambn sobre los 2000 metros de altura


That would be a good fact contribution to Wikipedia...
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Look at the model above i just posted. That is a very reliable model. Tomas misses the Trough and high pressure sets back in sending Tomas toward Western Cuba then ......that would not be good for others and better for others.


So your saying you think Thomas is going into the GOM, and in to the panhandle.. based on one model?
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944. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
TCWC Jakarta names TC 01 Anggrek

IDJ20060
BADAN METEOROLOGI KLIMATOLOGI DAN GEOFISIKA
Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre (TCWC) Jakarta

SECURITE

PERINGATAN DINI CUACA LAUT LEPAS

PERINGATAN DINI CUACA LAUT LEPAS UNTUK AREA 0 90E, 10S 90E, 10S 120E, 11S 120E, 11S 125E, 9S125E, 9S 141E, and 0 141E
Dikeluarkan oleh TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING CENTRE JAKARTA
Pada: 02:11 UTC 31 October 2010

SITUASI
Pada 00:00 UTC Siklon Tropis ANGGREK 997 hPa sekitar 30 mil dari 8.1 LS 94.5 BT bergerak tenggara barat dengan kecepatan 4 knot.

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943. JRRP
Quoting sunlinepr:
Dr. Masters usually refers to RD highest mountains effect on Hurricanes....

The 15 Highest Major Mountain Peaks of the Caribbean Rank?
1 Pico Duarte[1] PB Dominican Republic Island of Hispaniola 3098.0003098 m
10,164 feet


2 Loma Alto de la Bandera PB Dominican Republic Island of Hispaniola 2842.0002842 m
9,324 feet

3 Pic la Selle[2] PB Haiti Island of Hispaniola 2680.0002680 m
8,793 feet 2650.0002650 m

4 Pic Macaya PB Haiti Island of Hispaniola 2347.0002347 m
7,700 feet 2087.0002087 m

5 Loma Gajo en Medio PB Dominican Republic Island of Hispaniola 2279.0002279 m
7,477 feet 1779.0001779 m

6 Blue Mountain Peak[3] PB Jamaica Island of Jamaica 2256.0002256 m
7,402 feet 2256.0002256 m

7 Pico Real del Turquino[4] PB Cuba Island of Cuba 1974.0001974 m
6,476 feet 1974.0001974 m

8 La Grande Soufrière[5] PB Guadeloupe île de Basse-Terre 1467.0001467 m
4,813 feet 1467.0001467 m

9 Morne Diablotins[6] PB Dominica Island of Dominica 1447.0001447 m
4,747 feet 1447.0001447 m

10 Montagne Pelée[7] PB Martinique Island of Martinique 1397.0001397 m
4,583 feet 1397.0001397 m

11 Cerro de Punta[8] PB Puerto Rico Island of Puerto Rico 1338.0721338 m
4,390 feet 1338.0721338 m

12 Gran Piedra PB Cuba Island of Cuba 1249.0001249 m
4,098 feet

13 La Soufrière[9] PB Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Island of Saint Vincent 1234.0001234 m
4,049 feet


14 Mount Liamuiga[10] PB Saint Kitts and Nevis Island of Saint Kitts 1156.0001156 m
3,793 feet

15 Pico San Juan PB Cuba Island of Cuba 1140.0001140 m
3,740 feet

Loma Nalga de Maco tambn sobre los 2000 metros de altura
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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