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:


Don't feed trolls
I didnt know I was feeding one. All I feed is my dog and myself.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6747
Quoting scott39:
So, You are saying you want a hurricane to hit PR???

yes!!! hihihi
And Im a short person but Im not a TROLL
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
how could none of the "experts" at least suspect Tomas might decouple? Why did no one mention that shear might increase. how could they be predicting a Cat 3-4 yesterday, and today it is a TS and weakening? Heads need to roll?


This is as close as I could get.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25956
Quoting scott39:
So, You are saying you want a hurricane to hit PR???


Don't feed trolls
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Quoting TORMENTOSO83:
why I get so frustrated when a hurricane miss where I live (PR)? WHYYYYYYY
So, You are saying you want a hurricane to hit PR???
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6747
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
how could none of the "experts" at least suspect Tomas might decouple? Why did no one mention that shear might increase. how could they be predicting a Cat 3-4 yesterday, and today it is a TS and weakening? Heads need to roll?
your simple listen things can and will change when it comes to these systems there was a chance things may have been bad real bad but hence things can and have change for the better at the moment and yet but a blink of an eye may change again remember the first two words to this reply
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I see the spin at about 67W now. Looks like he got his head chopped off and his body is running away. Fitting for Halloween. Lets hope he doesnt grow a new head!!
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6747
Quoting kimoskee:
Okay, I'm really going to bed now. Lack of sleep isn't going to help tomorrow. Bye Tomas, I hope you're gone when I get up!


Count me in too
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Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25956
back on after a pounding from Tomas here in St Lucia. what is this area with a vigrous spin near 11N 47W
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why I get so frustrated when a hurricane miss where I live (PR)? WHYYYYYYY
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Okay, I'm really going to bed now. Lack of sleep isn't going to help tomorrow. Bye Tomas, I hope you're gone when I get up!
Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
Quoting scott39:
I wonder if I pulled the RIP cord to soon on Tomas. His COC maybe relocating a couple of degrees ESE under that heavy convection. The farther S he goes, the less wind shear will effect him. This is just an opinion of course. I hope Im wrong.

and more possibility have to look further east when it makes the turn, and PR could by in real danger!!!
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WTNT41 KNHC 010234
TCDAT1
TROPICAL STORM TOMAS DISCUSSION NUMBER 12
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL212010
1100 PM AST SUN OCT 31 2010

RECENT MICROWAVE DATA...PARTICULARLY A 0045 UTC SSMIS PASS...
INDICATE THAT THE LOW-LEVEL CENTER OF TOMAS IS NOW LOCATED ABOUT
140 N MI TO THE WEST OF THE DEEP CONVECTION AND HAS BEEN MOVING A
LITTLE SOUTH OF DUE WEST. DVORAK ESTIMATES HAVE DECREASED TO
T3.0/4.0 FROM TAFB...T2.5/3.5 FROM SAB...AND T3.4/4.3 FROM THE
ADT...AND THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS THEREFORE LOWERED TO 55 KT FOR
THIS ADVISORY. THIS INTENSITY COULD BE A LITTLE GENEROUS...BUT
ADDITIONAL ADJUSTMENTS CAN BE MADE WHEN THE AIR FORCE HURRICANE
HUNTER AIRCRAFT INVESTIGATES THE CYCLONE LATER TONIGHT.

SIGNIFICANT MODIFICATIONS HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO THE INTENSITY
FORECAST ON THIS ADVISORY. STRONG SOUTHWESTERLY SHEAR BELOW THE
OUTFLOW LAYER IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO AFFECT TOMAS FOR THE NEXT
48 HOURS...AS SHOWN BY THE SHIPS GUIDANCE...AND ALL THE INTENSITY
MODELS ARE SHOWING CONTINUED WEAKENING DURING THAT TIME. THE
OFFICIAL FORECAST HAS BEEN ADJUSTED DOWNWARD...LEVELING THE
INTENSITY AT 40 KT BETWEEN 24 AND 48 HOURS. THIS IS STILL ABOVE
MOST OF THE INTENSITY GUIDANCE...AND IT IS NOT OUT OF THE QUESTION
THAT TOMAS COULD WEAKEN MORE THAN INDICATED IN THE OFFICIAL
FORECAST. THE SHEAR IS EXPECTED TO RELAX AFTER 72 HOURS...AND
THERE WILL BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR TOMAS TO RESTRENGTHEN...POSSIBLY
BACK TO HURRICANE INTENSITY...OVER THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN SEA.

NOW THAT THE LOW- AND MID-LEVEL CIRCULATIONS OF TOMAS HAVE BECOME
INCREASINGLY DECOUPLED...THE LOW-LEVEL CENTER HAS ACCELERATED OVER
THE PAST FEW HOURS WITH AN INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATED TO BE 270/13.
THE SOUTHWESTWARD ADJUSTMENT OF THE INITIAL POSITION HAS CAUSED THE
NEW FORECAST TRACK TO BE A LITTLE SOUTH AND FASTER THAN THE
PREVIOUS FORECAST. THE TRACK GUIDANCE IS IN RELATIVELY GOOD
AGREEMENT ON THE FUTURE TRACK OF TOMAS...BUT THERE CONTINUES TO BE
SPEED DIFFERENCES MAINLY ON DAYS 4 AND 5 WHEN A DEEP MID-LATITUDE
TROUGH SWEEPS ACROSS THE GULF OF MEXICO AND NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN.
THE GFDN AND HWRF ARE STILL THE FASTEST MODELS...BUT THEY HAVE BEEN
JOINED BY THE ECMWF...MAKING A FASTER SCENARIO A LITTLE MORE
CREDIBLE BY DAY 5.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 01/0300Z 14.2N 66.5W 55 KT
12HR VT 01/1200Z 14.4N 68.1W 45 KT
24HR VT 02/0000Z 14.7N 69.8W 40 KT
36HR VT 02/1200Z 14.8N 71.6W 40 KT
48HR VT 03/0000Z 14.8N 73.1W 40 KT
72HR VT 04/0000Z 15.1N 74.5W 50 KT
96HR VT 05/0000Z 16.5N 74.5W 65 KT
120HR VT 06/0000Z 20.0N 72.5W 70 KT

$$
FORECASTER BERG
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Quoting Patrap:


5 and 3 betta than 4 and 4 anyday.

Thanx.

Happy Halloween all


Pat, you still up. And what are "The Saints"?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25956
Quoting kimoskee:
Well I was going to bed and decided to check the satellite image one last time. Am I reading it wrong or does Tomas look much improved? (Remember I'm not a met).
The NHC has the current COC at 14.2N and 66.5W. That blow up is about 2 degrees to the ESE. I dont see anything happening at 66.5W, but that doesnt mean anything because im not a met either.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6747
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Nice, KEEPER. I'll try to remember that. (And I mean try) LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25956
Quoting kimoskee:
Well I was going to bed and decided to check the satellite image one last time. Am I reading it wrong or does Tomas look much improved? (Remember I'm not a met).


Shortwave IR shows improvement.

Link
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Quoting docrod:


Congrats


5 and 3 betta than 4 and 4 anyday.

Thanx.

Happy Halloween all
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kimoskee:
Well I was going to bed and decided to check the satellite image one last time. Am I reading it wrong or does Tomas look much improved? (Remember I'm not a met).


No, he does looks a little better, but the center is far removed from the convection right now. Each frame shows more convection building on the easter quadrant.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25956
Well I was going to bed and decided to check the satellite image one last time. Am I reading it wrong or does Tomas look much improved? (Remember I'm not a met).
Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
Quoting scott39:
Hang in there Grothar. Tomas you Die!!


Thanks, scott. I'm trying. :)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25956
Quoting Patrap:


SAINTS 20

Steelers 10

FINAL


Congrats
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Be warned... it ain't over till the fat lady sings.

Good night all and don't let the bed bugs bite.
Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
411. JRRP

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5683


SAINTS 20

Steelers 10

FINAL
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Quoting Grothar:
He's really trying hard to stay alive. I know how he feels.

Hang in there Grothar. Tomas you Die!!
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6747
Quoting scott39:
I wonder if I pulled the RIP cord to soon on Tomas. His COC maybe relocating a couple of degrees ESE under that heavy convection. The farther S he goes, the less wind shear will effect him. This is just an opinion of course. I hope Im wrong.


It would not be out of the question. With the current downgrade, it could affect the outcome differently.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25956
I wonder if I pulled the RIP cord to soon on Tomas. His COC maybe relocating a couple of degrees ESE under that heavy convection. The farther S he goes, the less wind shear will effect him. This is just an opinion of course. I hope Im wrong.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6747
He's really trying hard to stay alive. I know how he feels.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25956
Quoting Grothar:
Think this could be the next AOI?



Yes - it "ain't" over yet
good call.
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Think this could be the next AOI?

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25956
I tell ya, the LLC is looking much better than just an hour ago.

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/loop-ir2.html


http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/flash-rb.html
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
Quoting Orcasystems:


Are you Joking????
It ain't dead yet.

Old saying comes to mind, something about counting chickens and hatching.



Dear Orca;
I recommend the ignore button. Did wonders for my blood pressure.

Meanwhile, Tomas continues to pull apart. How far we go who knows. A total dissolve would be a wonderful trick or treat but it is too early to call.

At any rate; tropical heavy rain, even without wind is not something I wish to see for Haiti. I've too many friends in place working to help.

- take care
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Are you Joking????
It ain't dead yet.

Old saying comes to mind, something about counting chickens and hatching.


I loose my hopes to see Tomas strike PR!!! lol
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Whoever says the hurricane season is over needs to WAKE UP! 2 Hurricanes formed in the last few days!!! Just because Tomas is on Life Support does not end the season!
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6747
Quoting Orcasystems:


Yup, but I had a pretty picture :)
Makes it easier for some to understand... know what I mean :)
Oh yea, A picture helps makes a lightbulb come on for some :)
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6747
Quoting Dakster:
Relix - PR is closer to being in the cone now than it was earlier. Watch for the model shift in the morning.


eventhou it happen, that PR get into the conus, is very hard to say that the center will pass over PR
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Quoting hurricaneben:
South Floridian meteorologists...do you wanna know a season with no big damaging hurricane impacts but lots of decent action? 1999. TS Conditions from Dennis, Floyd & Harvey. Minimal hurricane-like winds from Irene. It was a rather gusty year for us, eh?


You a Canada transplant? ;)
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Quoting Orcasystems:
The hurricane graveyard did its job, happy Halloween Haiti.


yep, the power of the eastern caribbean... Tomas will likely survive but, if he hits Haiti he should be only a strong tropical storm or category 1. unbelievable that he went from category 2 to a tropical storm in 12 hours just because he entered the eastern Caribbean, where he was met with an unpleasant surprise, wind shear and dry air, bum bum bum!
LOL!
Nite All
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Quoting TORMENTOSO83:
this season is over for PR!!! we can breath now!!!


Are you Joking????
It ain't dead yet.

Old saying comes to mind, something about counting chickens and hatching.

Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
TropicalStormTomas's heading turned southward to (9.8degrees west of) WestSouthWest
from it's previous heading of dueWest
TS.Tomas's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions increased to ~20.7mph(~33.3km/h) from its previous travel speed of ~15.7mph(~25.2km/h)
HurricaneTomas
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
TS.Tomas
1Nov. 12amGMT - 14.4n65.6w - - 55knots.(~101.9km/h) - 997mb - ATCF
1Nov. 03amGMT - 14.2n66.5w - - 65mph_(~104.6km/h) - 997mb - NHC.Adv.#12

Copy&paste 13.6n62.1w, 13.8n62.4w, 14.0n62.9w, 14.0n63.3w, 14.0n63.7w-14.2n64.3w, 14.2n64.3w-14.4n64.9w, 14.4n64.9w-14.4n65.6w, 14.4n65.6w-14.2n66.5w, cya, aua into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the headings and the distances traveled over the last 12^hours.
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Quoting scott39:
Looks like we were thinking the same thing Orca. LOL


Yup, but I had a pretty picture :)
Makes it easier for some to understand... know what I mean :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
this season is over for PR!!! we can breath now!!!
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
i wouldnt be so quick to close the season down. we still have one full month of season to go.


Yeah one more month of high inactivity. The thing is, how much major storms do you see after like Nov. 8 or 10 or something? Not that many. Paloma was one on the 7th, Ida was a CAT 2 (almost major) on the 6th...I can't recall any more that late.
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Tomas -
welcome to the graveyard and happy Halloween.

- lotta rain for Haiti (probably) to deal with.
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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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