Tomas significantly weaker; damage very heavy on St. Lucia and neighboring islands

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:38 PM GMT on October 31, 2010

Share this Blog
3
+

Hurricane Tomas dealt a punishing blow to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, with the neighboring islands of St. Vincent, Dominica, and Barbados also suffering heavy damage. St. Lucia received the full brunt of the northern eyewall of Tomas as it intensified into a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds early this morning. The St. Lucia weather service reported that sustained winds of 90 - 95 mph affected the island. A state of emergency has been declared on the island, and there are island-wide power outages on both St. Lucia and Dominica. Heavy flooding affected St. Lucia, washing out many bridges, and the airport is closed due to flooding. Damage to structures is considerable, with many roofs gone, and damage reported to hospitals, schools, and businesses.


Figure 1. Torrential rains from Tomas triggered massive flooding on St. Lucia that destroyed several bridges and severely damaged roads. Image credit: Caribbean Hurricane Network.

Tomas significantly weakens
An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft arrived at Tomas at 2pm this afternoon, and found a much weaker storm. The 2pm EDT center fix found that the pressure has risen to 994 mb, and the strongest surface winds were barely Category 1 hurricane strength, 74 mph. The aircraft found the the eyewall had mostly collapsed. Satellite loops of Tomas also show a significant degradation in the appearance of the storm in recent hours. The storm is highly asymmetric with very little heavy thunderstorm activity or upper level outflow on the west side, and the hurricane has only one prominent spiral band, on the east side. Wind shear is a high 20 knots due to strong upper level west-southwest winds, and these winds are driving dry air at mid-levels of the atmosphere into Tomas' west side, as seen on water vapor satellite imagery.


Figure 2. MODIS satellite image of Tropical Storm Tomas taken at 10:30am EDT Saturday October 30, as the storm began lashing the Lesser Antilles. At the time, Tomas was a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

Track forecast for Tomas
The ridge of high pressure pushing Tomas to the west-northwest will weaken by Tuesday, as a trough of low pressure approaches the eastern U.S. and breaks down the ridge. This will result in Tomas slowing from its current 9 mph forward speed to 5 mph by Tuesday. By Thursday, the trough to Tomas' north should be able to pull the storm to the north. The exact timing and location of this turn is still very uncertain. The computer model solutions from the latest set of 8am EDT (12Z) runs include a strike on Haiti on Friday (GFS and GFDL models), a strike on the Dominican Republic on Friday (NOGAPS model), a strike on Haiti on Saturday (UKMET model), a strike on Jamaica and eastern Cuba on Thursday (Canadian), or a strike on Puerto Rico on Friday (HWRF).

Intensity forecast for Tomas
Wind shear is forecast to remain in the high range, 20 - 25 knots, through Monday night, then decline to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, for the remainder of the week. Tomas will struggle with the shear and the dry air to its west through Tuesday, and I expect it will weaken to a tropical storm tonight, and remain a tropical storm until Tuesday, when the shear finally relents. At that point, re-intensification is likely, though with the storm's inner core gone, I expect it will take Tomas two days before it can re-establish a complete eyewall. Hindering that process will be the slow motion of the storm, which will allow cooler waters from the depths upwell to the surface and cool the SSTs. Still, the waters are very warm in the Caribbean and these waters extend to great depth, so the upwelling cool water may not impede intensification as much as might ordinarily be expected. The intensity Tomas might have as landfall in Hispaniola or Jamaica is highly uncertain, and a strength anywhere between a tropical storm and Category 3 hurricane would not be surprising. The HWRF model predicts Tomas will be a borderline tropical storm/Category 1 hurricane on Friday, while the GFDL foresees Tomas will be a strengthening Category 3 hurricane as it bears down on Haiti Friday afternoon. I predict Tomas will have trouble reorganizing, and will be a strengthening Category 1 hurricane on Friday as it makes landfall in Haiti or the Dominican Republic.


Figure 3. Hurricane specialists Robbie Berg (background) and Dan Brown (foreground) discuss the latest data on Tomas Friday night at the National Hurricane Center.

Next update
I'll have an update Monday 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: 189 - 139

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Quoting JLPR2:
EYEWALL DISSIPATED.

Tropical Storm Tomas soon...


It said that at the 2PM pass this afternoon also.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


True, how would KOG know.. he was only there.


There's no need to get sassy.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting scott39:
Great song Grothar! My mom would play that for me when I was in her womb.
She tricked me with that song! LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
186. JLPR2
EYEWALL DISSIPATED.

Tropical Storm Tomas soon...
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8735
Quoting Hoff511:
Baha

No man, I was just kidding. I respect your views, and follow your forecasts. I have been on this blog as a lurker for years, but just recently started posting.
Yeah, I kinda figured that... U guys prolly understand more than most what Bahamians have been through re: hurricanes over the years, mainly because so many hurricanes that pass through here later impacted that part of the FL coast. So I I have a special soft-spot for the Stuart, Port St Lucie, Fort Pierce area...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
no it was hail litle white balls of ice not clear like sleet i know the difference got lots of experience with this stuff


No...It doesn't hail when its near freezing...It sleets.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
BTW, Hoff, I agree w/ ur view on Tomas. I'm now remembering how it passed through the gap there, because I was watching to see if it would turn early enough to impact the SE Bahamas. There are definitely similarities w/ Ernesto. Frankly, I wish it would do the HRWF and go through the Mona Passage instead....



I couldn't agree more. Haiti needs a break.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Sleet...not hail.


True, how would KOG know.. he was only there.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Tomas doesnt look very scary on Halloween. Maybe this is a good sign.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:
BTW, how long till the next HH, thinking of a little afternoon nap on the couch :)


2AM I believe.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Sleet...not hail.
no it was hail litle white balls of ice not clear like sleet i know the difference got lots of experience with this stuff
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54616
Tomas appears to be organizing again...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
BTW, how long till the next HH, thinking of a little afternoon nap on the couch :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
no snow stopped then we hav a couple of showers of small hail now just cold 36f going down to a low of 25f after midnight maybe some more flurries till midnight


Sleet...not hail.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
BTW, Hoff, I agree w/ ur view on Tomas. I'm now remembering how it passed through the gap there, because I was watching to see if it would turn early enough to impact the SE Bahamas. There are definitely similarities w/ Ernesto. Frankly, I wish it would do the HRWF and go through the Mona Passage instead....

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
no snow stopped then we hav a couple of showers of small hail now just cold 36f going down to a low of 25f after midnight maybe some more flurries till midnight


One can only hope and pray.. umm I mean, I am sorry to hear that KOG.

SWMBO and I went Golfing today :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting Grothar:


Great song Grothar! My mom would play that for me when I was in her womb.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


(innocent question) Still snowing?
no snow stopped then we hav a couple of showers of small hail now just cold 36f going down to a low of 25f after midnight maybe some more flurries till midnight
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54616
Baha

No man, I was just kidding. I respect your views, and follow your forecasts. I have been on this blog as a lurker for years, but just recently started posting.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


Oh god... accountant humour... we're doomed.
Yeah, that's what I thought he meant; thanks 4 confirming, so I don't have to go google...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
21L/TS/T/Cx
MARK
14.40n/64.56w


weakening flag on
rapid disp. flag on
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54616
Quoting Hoff511:
Baha- I didn't want to keep taking up this on Levi's blog, but you are right and the forecast for Ernesto was for NO/Panhandle. I was trying to make a comparison of the track and intensity of Ernesto through the Caribbean to Tomas' future. I still believe the trough is strong enough to keep it well away from the CONUS. I also have resentment toward you for mentioning my town as an off the wall FL hit from Tomas earlier.(Port Saint Lucie)
How can u resent me??? I was just "quoting" climatology.... u realize that storms that hit the us have gone on to hit u guys, right? Can I say Frances and Jeanne? It's not like I don't come by my paranoia honestly... lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


"SAY" what? I will have to "MILL" that one over. LOL


Oh god... accountant humour... we're doomed.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting Grothar:


"SAY" what? I will have to "MILL" that one over. LOL
(P.S. Anyone who gets that pun is good)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
165. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Perth
Tropical Cyclone Advice #12
TROPICAL CYCLONE ANGGREK (01U)
6:00 AM WST November 1 2010
======================================

At 5:00 am WST (3:30am Cocos local time) Tropical Cyclone Anggrek, Category 2 (988 hPa) located at 9.8S 97.1E or about 270 kms north of Cocos Island has 10 minute sustained winds of 50 knots with gusts of 70 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving southeast at 4 knots.

Tropical Cyclone Anggrek is expected to intensify this morning as it moves southwards towards the Cocos Islands. Gales may develop during Monday as the system moves closer and intensifies. The period of greatest risk will commence on Monday evening, with the system likely to pass close to the islands during Tuesday.

During this morning conditions will become favorable for intensification and there is a significant risk that people on the Cocos Islands will experience VERY DESTRUCTIVE wind gusts during Tuesday.

Tropical Cyclone Warning
=========================
A Cyclone WARNING continues for people on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Next full advice/bulletin will be issued at around 9:00 AM WST...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
things appear to be giving tomas some problems lets hope it cannot recover


(innocent question) Still snowing?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting Orcasystems:


I agree... when you get to the same age as Grothar, Pottery, RTLSNK, Ike, and I guess myself in a little way (I am no where near as old).. you will remember those more then the classes :)

P.S. Applied Economics means trying to get someone else to buy.


"SAY" what? I will have to "MILL" that one over. LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
things appear to be giving tomas some problems lets hope it cannot recover
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54616
Baha- I didn't want to keep taking up this on Levi's blog, but you are right and the forecast for Ernesto was for NO/Panhandle. I was trying to make a comparison of the track and intensity of Ernesto through the Caribbean to Tomas' future. I still believe the trough is strong enough to keep it well away from the CONUS. I also have resentment toward you for mentioning my town as an off the wall FL hit from Tomas earlier.(Port Saint Lucie)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


HA! No, I keep my globes close to home now.
Not close enough...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


I agree... when you get to the same age as Grothar, Pottery, RTLSNK, Ike, and I guess myself in a little way (I am no where near as old).. you will remember those more then the classes :)


You nailed it, Orca. As some of us oldsters can attest, we really don't have any regrets of the things we did, but rather the things we did NOT do. Hope you all enjoy that video below. Want to set the mood for a nice evening for you all.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Quoting BahaHurican:
Levi, does the presence of that shortwave in the SW Car have any influence on these increased trades, or is that itself a sort of "reaction" to the displaced high?


That upper low is aiding upper divergence in the western Caribbean where the trades are converging, but yeah I think it's just a bordering low, since the ridge bubble building into the eastern Caribbean will naturally tend to be bordered by upper troughs on either side, which it is.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


Other than taking Applied Economics, that is the best part of college. LOL It is OK to be crazy at your age.


I agree... when you get to the same age as Grothar, Pottery, RTLSNK, Ike, and I guess myself in a little way (I am no where near as old).. you will remember those more then the classes :)

P.S. Applied Economics means trying to get someone else to buy.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511


Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Quoting BahaHurican:
At least nobody stole ur globe today..... lol


HA! No, I keep my globes close to home now.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Levi, does the presence of that shortwave in the SW Car have any influence on these increased trades, or is that itself a sort of "reaction" to the displaced high?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Some later ones

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
At least nobody stole ur globe today..... lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting alfabob:
Tomas is going west for a while, even more so with the significant weakening that has occurred. Still surprised how the environmental conditions collapsed so quickly; but as mentioned by others, he's pulling himself back together. MLC is showing up pretty strong on water vapor, he just needs an anti-cyclone over head to help with this SE shear.


Oh, this makes the track even more uncertain.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
Thanks 4 posting that, Grothar. I couldn't remember the source website...


Your welcome. And you should enjoy this, no one ever posts it (chuckle, snort, smile)

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Quoting Levi32:


LOL....well for one thing I'm in Fairbanks now, not Homer, and they did have a midnight dance party last night at one of the dorms but I didn't go. Those things are a bit crazy....lol.


Other than taking Applied Economics, that is the best part of college. LOL It is OK to be crazy at your age.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Thanks 4 posting that, Grothar. I couldn't remember the source website...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:



GFS ensemble:

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Quoting largeeyes:
6 standard deviations? Holy smokes.


Statistically speaking! LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26541
Quoting docrod:


Thanks Levi
I did note those clouds racing to the west of Tomas and that so much of the convection is east. Maybe the Caribbean graveyard will collect this one? At any rate, thank you explaining those observations.

Is there "trick or treating" in Homer??? ;>)
Quoting BahaHurican:
Hey, he's too old and cool for that now.... he's prolly going to some skaggy dorm costume party... or maybe went last night, which is why he got up so late.... r those shadows under the eyes that I hear??? lol

Thanks for the tidbit, btw.... I was thinking that setup is pretty interesting myself...


LOL....well for one thing I'm in Fairbanks now, not Homer, and they did have a midnight dance party last night at one of the dorms but I didn't go. Those things are a bit crazy....lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Any update on the trough?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting alfabob:
High pressure seems to be pretty elongated.


Which indicates?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
141. JLPR2
Mid level steering shows a nice ridge north of the islands.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8735
Quoting docrod:


Thanks Levi
I did note those clouds racing to the west of Tomas and that so much of the convection is east. Maybe the Caribbean graveyard will collect this one? At any rate, thank you explaining those observations.

Is there "trick or treating" in Homer??? ;>)
Hey, he's too old and cool for that now.... he's prolly going to some skaggy dorm costume party... or maybe went last night, which is why he got up so late.... r those shadows under the eyes that I hear??? lol

Thanks for the tidbit, btw.... I was thinking that setup is pretty interesting myself...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 189 - 139

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog 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.

Local Weather

Overcast
54 °F
Overcast