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

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

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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

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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...
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138. JLPR2
Quoting BahaHurican:
BTW, jlpr, I wasn't trying to "attack" you, just comment on the obviously facile nature of thinking that PR rules when huge portions of the basin have been as little impacted.

In fact, up to this moment, Haiti has actually had better tropical wx this season than PR has had... lol

And the comment about 2011 is jumping the gun a bit, I know...


Yup, enough rain already! -.-
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Quoting Levi32:
Good afternoon.

Tropical Tidbit for October 31st: Short Sunday video update on Hurricane Tomas
Thanks Levi. Very well done and even I can understand it. LOL
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BTW, jlpr, I wasn't trying to "attack" you, just comment on the obviously facile nature of thinking that PR rules when huge portions of the basin have been as little impacted.

In fact, up to this moment, Haiti has actually had better tropical wx this season than PR has had... lol

And the comment about 2011 is jumping the gun a bit, I know...
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6 standard deviations? Holy smokes.
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134. JLPR2
Disturbance in the CATL is a little interesting.

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133. JLPR2
Quoting BahaHurican:
It's not like u guys have been the only ones... Imagine the first storm of an active CV season to impact the Lesser Antilles in a serious way is happening on the day before Halloween???? What about NO storms seriously impacting the Cuba, Hispaniola or the Bahamas at that point, in a season with nearly 20 storms? Or no storms seriously impacting the CONUS coastline? So how does PR rule anything?

On a serious note, someone made a comparison between 1995 and this year trackwise [lots of similarities, IMO], so I'm now wondering if 2011 tracks are going to be like 1996...



You got a point there, but not agreeing with the we rule hurricanes, they do what they want not what we want them to do. :P
But in 2005 we did rule them. LOL!
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Quoting Levi32:
Good afternoon.

Tropical Tidbit for October 31st: Short Sunday video update on Hurricane Tomas


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??? ;>)
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Quoting JLPR2:


I must admit we have been ridiculously lucky as of late. XD
It's not like u guys have been the only ones... Imagine the first storm of an active CV season to impact the Lesser Antilles in a serious way is happening on the day before Halloween???? What about NO storms seriously impacting the Cuba, Hispaniola or the Bahamas at that point, in a season with nearly 20 storms? Or no storms seriously impacting the CONUS coastline? So how does PR rule anything?

On a serious note, someone made a comparison between 1995 and this year trackwise [lots of similarities, IMO], so I'm now wondering if 2011 tracks are going to be like 1996...

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Quoting TORMENTOSO83:
Puerto Rico Rules hurricanes, they respect us!!!
what are you, 5 years old ?
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*** HURRICANE TOMAS WEAKENs SLIGHTLY.. BUT REMAINS A HURRICANE... ***

At 4:00 p.m. the centre of Hurricane Tomas was located near latitude 14.4 degrees north and longitude 64.9 degrees west or about 465 kilometres south southeast of San Juan Puerto Rico or about 425 kilometres west of St. Lucia. Tomas is moving toward the west near 19 km/h. This general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 120 km/h, with higher gusts. Tomas is a Category One Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane wind Scale. Some additional weakening is forecast during the next 24 hours followed by little change in strength Monday night and Tuesday.

Hurricane Tomas still has the potential to become a significant threat to weather conditions over Jamaica and its territorial waters over the next few days. All interests are, therefore, advised to pay close attention to subsequent News Releases.

Fishers on the cays and banks are further urged to complete their preparations and be on alert to evacuate.

It is likely that the Meteorological Service will begin issuing Bulletins on Hurricane Tomas tomorrow.
pef
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In about 200 to 300km, the area around 46-47W 9N should enter in an area of lower windshear and TCHP more favorable .....

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127. JLPR2
Quoting TORMENTOSO83:
Puerto Rico Rules hurricanes, they respect us!!!


I must admit we have been ridiculously lucky as of late. XD
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Quoting Levi32:
Good afternoon.

Tropical Tidbit for October 31st: Short Sunday video update on Hurricane Tomas


One of your best :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
125. IKE
From Memphis,TN discussion....

"BY THURSDAY NIGHT...500 MB HEIGHT ANOMALIES COULD REACH AT LEAST
6 STANDARD DEVIATIONS BELOW NORMAL OVER THE SOUTHEASTERN U.S. AND
THE GULF COAST WHICH IS JUST ASTONISHING. THIS LOW REALLY HAS
POTENTIAL TO BECOME POWERFUL OVER THE MID ATLANTIC OR EASTERN OHIO
VALLEY. DEPENDING UPON WHERE AND HOW THIS LOW INTERACTS WITH THE
TROUGH WILL DETERMINE IF WE SEE ANY WRAP AROUND RAIN AND/OR
YES POSSIBLY SNOW. THE 12Z CANADIAN IS RATHER AMUSING PRODUCING
SEVERAL INCHES OF SNOW OVER WEST AND MIDDLE TENNESSEE. BEFORE
BELLS AND WHISTLES START SOUNDING...THIS SCENARIO SEEMS QUITE
UNLIKELY. HOWEVER...THICKNESSES DROP INTO THE 528-534 DAM RANGE
OVER THE MIDSOUTH THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY WITH 850 MB TEMPS OF
-6 TO -8C BY FRIDAY EVENING. THE ECMWF AND TO SOME EXTENT THE
GFS DO GENERATE LIGHT QPF FRIDAY. BECAUSE 925 MB TEMPS ARE NEAR
ZERO OR SLIGHTLY ABOVE AND THE HIGH RH IS LOCATED JUST BELOW THE
SNOW GROWTH REGION...IT APPEARS THE PRECIP OF CHOICE WILL BE JUST
RAIN OR SPRINKLES. IT WILL BE A VERY CHILLY DAY FRIDAY NONETHELESS
WITH HIGHS LIKELY REMAINING IN THE 40S. THE GUSTY WINDS WILL MAKE
IT FEEL COLDER AND WIND ADVISORIES MAY BE NEEDED THURSDAY AND
FRIDAY. THIS SYSTEM WILL NEED TO BE WATCHED CLOSELY OVER THE NEXT
SEVERAL DAYS."
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Anyone else think Tomas might completely decouple to just a remnant low?
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Quoting Levi32:
Good afternoon.

Tropical Tidbit for October 31st: Short Sunday video update on Hurricane Tomas
Afternoon Levi. BRB, gotta check out your update.
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Quoting stormpetrol:

I'm going with the XTRP on this one for 2 days at least :)
:D
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:

I'm going with the XTRP on this one for 2 days at least :)
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Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting Neapolitan:

Hey, what's up? I think Tomas is going to continue to fight shear off until Tuesday to the point that it's a mid-range tropical storm, if that. I also think that, as predicted, shear will relax, and the warmer waters Tomas is moving across are going to allow him to reintensify with gusto, and he'll eventually become a Cat 3 (or even Cat 4). I also don't believe that will take quite as long as some may think; he may be a very small storm by then, and small storms are, of course, much more nimble, and are able to pull themselves together far more quickly than bigger systems.

Track wise, I'd go with the NHC's cone; it looks to be pretty solid. That's unfortunate if so, I'm afraid: Tomas could be be very bad for Hispaniola.

Of course, I'm no pro: Tomas may completely devolve into a naked swirl with no chance to regenerate...but I doubt that'll happen.
Thanks for answering. I think he will re-intensify but not so sure about the track. Living down here makes me wary of the so-called predicted paths since we have been unfortunate enough to end up getting a pretty close call several times when it was supposedly going to pass N or S of us.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
101. TORMENTOSO83 2:25 PM PDT on October 31, 2010 Hide this comment.
that there's no high pressure north of Tomas?


poof

so, why theyare saying that Tomas will move westward???????
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Also looks like some colder cloudtops are beginning to refire in Tomas. We may not see that reduction to TS until tomorrow...
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
I was wondering where you were this afternoon. What are your thoughts on Tomas as far as intensity and track ?

Hey, what's up? I think Tomas is going to continue to fight shear off until Tuesday to the point that it's a mid-range tropical storm, if that. I also think that, as predicted, shear will relax, and the warmer waters Tomas is moving across are going to allow him to reintensify with gusto, and he'll eventually become a Cat 3 (or even Cat 4). I also don't believe that will take quite as long as some may think; he may be a very small storm by then, and small storms are, of course, much more nimble, and are able to pull themselves together far more quickly than bigger systems.

Track wise, I'd go with the NHC's cone; it looks to be pretty solid. That's unfortunate if so, I'm afraid: Tomas could be be very bad for Hispaniola.

Of course, I'm no pro: Tomas may completely devolve into a naked swirl with no chance to regenerate...but I doubt that'll happen.
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MLC appears to be closing in on LLC of Tomas,reintensification very likley within 24 hours IMO.
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101. TORMENTOSO83 2:25 PM PDT on October 31, 2010 Hide this comment.
that there's no high pressure north of Tomas?


poof
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There is a bit of a shortwave trough down in the SW Car that's generating some shower activity down there.

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Quoting Neapolitan:

So...does that mean Hispaniola is a cursed island? That Haiti is a cursed nation? Not likely. It's just the randomness of nature: the unpredictability of chaos theory, the capriciousness of the winds, the vagaries of the ocean currents...

that's depends on how is your perception about "a bless" for me is a matter of "lucky", see how people's perceptions are not equal!!! :)
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Quoting TORMENTOSO83:
Puerto Rico Rules hurricanes, they respect us!!!

I'm having a few cold coors light and have a few Puerto Ricans Friends, Nature rules my friend, the steering currents, shear or lack there of and the angle of the dangle, luck of the draw, be careful you never put a curse on yourself, sometimes Mother nature has a way slapping us in the face and waking us up to reality, Stay Safe!!
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102. and 105. enough . bye.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

So...does that mean Hispaniola is a cursed island? That Haiti is a cursed nation? Not likely. It's just the randomness of nature: the unpredictability of chaos theory, the capriciousness of the winds, the vagaries of the ocean currents...
I was wondering where you were this afternoon. What are your thoughts on Tomas as far as intensity and track ?
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Puerto Rico Rules hurricanes, they respect us!!!
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Quoting TORMENTOSO83:
Puerto Rico is a blessed island!!!!

So...does that mean Hispaniola is a cursed island? That Haiti is a cursed nation? Not likely. It's just the randomness of nature: the unpredictability of chaos theory, the capriciousness of the winds, the vagaries of the ocean currents...
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Haiti just can't get a break....Tomas will be the biggest hurricane disaster of 2010 if it hits near port-au-prince...and it already did a number on the Islands...
Member Since: October 31, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 882
Puerto Rico is a blessed island always!!! No hurricane can beat us!!!
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that there's no high pressure north of Tomas?
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Here's hoping Tomas spares Haiti, as they've had enough disaster this year.

If any of you are scurrying around trying to put together a Hallowe'en costume at the last minute:

Pin some balls of cotton to a gray or blue outfit and bring along a squirt bottle. When people ask what you are you can say, "Partly cloudy with a chance of showers" and spray the bottle a little bit. :-)

Enjoy!
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ok, but that isn't even a probability in the models! Puerto Rico is a blessed island!!!!
Is very unlikely that Tomas make a very sharp turn to the north and affect us even with tropical storm force winds, I don't think we gonna have too much rain either!!! :D
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97. 7544
lloks like something trying to brew in the carb. ?
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6812
94. aspectre 9:01 PM GMT on October 31, 2010

Just want say I enjoy your posts and find them very informative! Tks.
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Quoting TORMENTOSO83:
there's no danger now either later for Puerto Rico!!! We are the best!!!
probally right but as that blob moves west p rico could be in for the heavy rain also once thomas finally decides to move north p rico might be in one of the storms tail
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HurricaneTomas's heading held steady at (3.6degrees west of) WestNorthWest
H.Tomas's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions remained ~14.3mph(~23.1km/h)
H.Tomas
30Oct 09pmGMT - 13.5n61.4w - - 75mph_(~120.7km/h) - 992mb - NHC.Adv.#6
31Oct 12amGMT - 13.5n61.7w - - 90mph_(~144.9km/h) - 982mb - NHC.Adv.#7A
31Oct 03amGMT - 13.6n62.1w - - 90mph_(~144.9km/h) - 982mb - NHC.Adv.#8
Category2
31Oct 06amGMT - 13.8n62.4w - 100mph_(~160.9km/h) - 982mb - NHC.Adv..#8A
31Oct 09amGMT - 14.0n62.9w - 100mph_(~160.9km/h) - 983mb - NHC.Adv.#9
31Oct 12pmGMT - 14.0n63.3w - 100mph_(~160.9km/h) - 983mb - NHC.Adv.#9A
Cat.1
31Oct 03pmGMT - 14.0n63.7w - - 90mph_(~144.9km/h) - 986mb - NHC.Adv.#10
31Oct 06pmGMT - 14.2n64.3w - - 70knots.(~129.6km/h) - 992mb - ATCF
31Oct 09pmGMT - 14.4n64.9w - - 75mph_(~120.7km/h) - 994mb - NHC.Adv.#11

Copy&paste 13.5n61.4w, 13.5n61.7w, 13.6n62.1w, 13.8n62.4w, 14.0n62.9w-14.0n63.3w, 14.0n63.3w-14.0n63.7w, 14.0n63.7w-14.2n64.3w, 14.2n64.3w-14.4n64.9w, kin, 14.4n64.9w-17.88n76.44w into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the headings and the distances traveled over the last 12^hours.

Using straightline projection upon the speed&heading averaged
over the 3hours spanning the last two reported positions:
~2days&8hours from now to Belvedere,Jamaica
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Link
Look at this link the center "eye" can be seen at around 14.3N/64.8W, I think Tomas is slowly reorganizing!
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there's no danger now either later for Puerto Rico!!! We are the best!!!
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is the trough really going to be deep and south enough to pull Tomas all the way N and then NE?  Can a ridge build back in an push him Westward again until the next trough pulls him out completely?  Just seems like the storm is very deep in the tropics to be pulle so dramatically...especially if he is not as strong as originally expected.

Just asking...not casting.
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Doesn't this setup seem kinda... weird to u guys?

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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.