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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Tomas -
welcome to the graveyard and happy Halloween.

- lotta rain for Haiti (probably) to deal with.
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Looks like we were thinking the same thing Orca. LOL
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387. JLPR2
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
i wouldnt be so quick to close the season down. we still have one full month of season to go.


Very rare for PR to get a storm at November but not impossible like Lenny.
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386. JLPR2
Quoting TORMENTOSO83:

ok, but the pic is showing the possibility to relocate the coc further to the east?


Center relocation not very possible since even though the center is mostly exposed it is well defined, maybe if it weakens further then the center could reform somewhere.
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KOTG - Yep... I second your thoughts. Now will it happen?
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Quoting Relix:
Tomas surely not hitting PR, not where it is. And with that I go to bed =D. Guess the next important event will be in 2011!
i wouldnt be so quick to close the season down. we still have one full month of season to go.
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Tomas is going to die in the Caribbean Grave yard. It wont last under another 48 hours of shear. It may be early but I say RIP. Happy Halloween.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I believe Tomas peaked in intensity early this morning as a 100 mph Category 2 hurricane.
yep and so far convective cycle number four has failed to initate very good and further decoupling has occurred or occurring and shear and some dry air put in for good measure hopefully it will never recover and the next 29 days go out on a quiet note
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
On the other hand, Anggrek is undergoing rapid intensification with one of the most impressive CDO's I've ever seen take shape. Check out the amount of -80C cloud tops surrounding the rapidly developing eye.

Now that's a strange name for a storm! Anggrek! How would you like to have a name like that? The name sounds like someone has something stuck in there throat.
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If the LLC keeps going south of due west and faster the CAYMAN's could be back in the cone by tomorrow... IF Tomas is still around.
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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?
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378. ackee
which Gobal models has proform the best so far with Tomas ?

A GFS
B ECMWF
C CMC
D NOGAPS
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:

Jamaica back in the cone.
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The hurricane graveyard did its job, happy Halloween Haiti.


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Quoting JLPR2:


The mid level circulation is the one firing convection while the low level circulation is racing off to the west, but there is always the possibility that the MLC could pull the LLC under it, though that possibility is decreasing as the LLC moves further and further away from the convection.

*Ah, also I meant that it needs to get under the convection or it could fall apart. *

ok, but the pic is showing the possibility to relocate the coc further to the east?
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Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11151
Relix - PR is closer to being in the cone now than it was earlier. Watch for the model shift in the morning.

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I believe Tomas peaked in intensity early this morning as a 100 mph Category 2 hurricane.
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371. ackee
I think Ecmwf track of TS Tomas might be right it has tomas moving on more souther track for days now turn North and East near jamaica guess we see
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370. Relix
Quoting Cat5hit:
How do you know 2011 PR will get hit? I'm just busting your chops... And trying to make pun on your avatar.


Oh. Lol. Nah... I meant gotta wait till 2011 to get nailed by something. Hopefully. =P
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Gro- It's ok you are excused!

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367. JLPR2
Quoting TORMENTOSO83:

dont get it what you mean by this!!!


The mid level circulation is the one firing convection while the low level circulation is racing off to the west, but there is always the possibility that the MLC could pull the LLC under it, though that possibility is decreasing as the LLC moves further and further away from the convection.

*Ah, also I meant that it needs to get under the convection or it could fall apart. *
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366. Relix
Quoting Cat5hit:


Ohh really?


Yep. NHC has come to terms and agree with the models. I am feeling very safe right now.
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365. Relix
Quoting TORMENTOSO83:

dont get it what you mean by this!!!


Better for PR to get hit than Haiti.
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all i asked for was to take this evil vision from my sight
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Quoting JLPR2:


It needs to pull to the east, bad...

dont get it what you mean by this!!!
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Quoting Orcasystems:
This could be the best thing that ever happened... it would be fantastic if Tomas just died... quickly

Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI


iam so glad that things can and will change
at the moment we have a positive outcome
lets hope it holds
and continues to get beat up
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359. Relix
Tomas surely not hitting PR, not where it is. And with that I go to bed =D. Guess the next important event will be in 2011!
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Watch to see if the COC starts to trend back E suddenly, or gets sucked back into the cloudtops. We've seen that happen before.
how can that happen?
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Quoting roleli:
Tropical Storm Tomas now
14.2 N 66.5W
moving W


Hip Hip Hooray! SHEAR! SHEAR! SHEAR!
Or whatever it takes to do him in.
Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
Quoting Dakster:


That wasn't very punny...


Hey, Dak, the blog was slow, what do you want?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26126
Quoting JLPR2:


Yup, Tomas is going nude? What an indecent storm!
LOL!
Tomas should be arested for Lude lasivious behavior! Don't he will be and be sentenced to high levels of windshear!
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Done


Tropical Storm 21L




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
UW-CIMSS Automated Satellite-Based
Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT)
Version 8.1.1

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Tropical Storm Tomas now
14.2 N 66.5W
moving W
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This could be the best thing that ever happened... it would be fantastic if Tomas just died... quickly

Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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351. JLPR2


It needs to pull to the east, bad...
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AL, 21, 2010110100, 142N, 660W, 55, 997, TS
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11151
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Watch to see if the COC starts to trend back E suddenly, or gets sucked back into the cloudtops. We've seen that happen before.
I believe that is what will happen. Each frame of the satellite shows the convection to the east deepening.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8370
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
downgrade to TS coming




Done
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downgrade to TS coming


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Thomas looked much better as an invest
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Tomas is naked and speeding west.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Watch to see if the COC starts to trend back E suddenly, or gets sucked back into the cloudtops. We've seen that happen before.


Would be good for haiti
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tomas is a TROPICAL STORM isee
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340. ackee
Quoting kimoskee:
Met Service of Jamaica website

NEWS RELEASE

*** 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
I would be really surprise if met office issue bulletin or if we place on some sort of watch guess we see
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Quoting Grothar:


Not here, even the nasal spray vaccines, we have pay through the nose.


That wasn't very punny...
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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.