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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339. Dakster
2:25 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting Grothar:


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


That wasn't very punny...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10816
338. CybrTeddy
2:25 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
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.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24580
337. uncljbnd
2:24 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
that convection is 100 miles east of the LLC


Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
336. stormwatcherCI
2:24 AM GMT on November 01, 2010



Good attempt at a comeback.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
335. Tomski5421
2:24 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
stick a fork in Tomas, he is done
Member Since: September 7, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10
334. sunlinepr
2:21 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
333. sunlinepr
2:19 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting kimoskee:


I think we feel the same way. ....

The good thing is that if you check daily the USGS, you find out that all the area is liberating energy through small quakes.... In the PR area almost every day you have plots of 2-4 in the Ritcher scale...
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
332. largeeyes
2:18 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting DoverWxwatchter:


How rare is a deviation of 6 standard deviations anyway?


1 in about 300,000 It's 3.4 per million.
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1462
331. kimoskee
2:17 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
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
Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
330. CybrTeddy
2:14 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
FWIW, A 'hyperactive season' in terms of ACE is when ACE hits 153. Current ACE is 152.4.

19-12-5 it stands.. wow!
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24580
329. kimoskee
2:13 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting sunlinepr:


I think we feel the same way. Remember here in Jamaica the earthquake of 1692 sank the town of Port Royal which at the time was the "wickest city on earth". With what happened in Haiti we're all on edge. Too close for comfort.
Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
328. sunlinepr
2:11 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
New plots now reach Cuba....



Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
327. stormwatcherCI
2:09 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting hydrus:
I have to go . G,nite to all and God Bless..:)
Feel better.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
326. sunlinepr
2:06 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting kimoskee:
The Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic ....



We are overdue, statistically speaking, in the time for our next big quake..... According to various geologists, the next big one would occur in the north of Arecibo (PR trench), under the sea, having the result of a Tsunami.... The bad news is that the Tsunami buoys are farther from the coast, than where the quake can happen, reacting or giving alarm to the tsunami after it hits the coast....
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
325. Grothar
2:04 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27211
324. stormpetrol
2:00 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
tomas down but not out, llc way out ahead moving due west ahead of convection lots of work to do to last!!!
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8134
323. Neapolitan
1:59 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Heavy lightning in and around the southern parts of Tomas:

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13805
322. sunlinepr
1:58 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
321. kimoskee
1:57 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
The Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in the northeastern Caribbean is an area long known for its strong and shifting currents, abundant marine mammals and fish, and pirates and smugglers. All are there because the Mona Passage is an area of shallow banks over which a vigorous exchange of waters takes place between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The Mona Passage is also the site of a devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit western Puerto Rico in 1918, and the site of frequent small earthquakes. Prompted by the likelihood of further tsunamis and earthquakes, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) undertook the task of mapping in detail the sea floor under the waters of the Mona Passage, to identify active faults and submarine landslides and to better understand their underlying causes.

Pretty interesting. From the USGS website.

Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
320. stormwatcherCI
1:57 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting Grothar:


This is for you, wondered if anyone would catch it.

Thanks. :) About 85 years since I got one of them.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
319. Neapolitan
1:55 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting pilotguy1:


Still no one is predicting this to happen.

Well, the GFDL is... ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13805
318. PensacolaDoug
1:53 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
An exposed center when the sun comes up? Looking at the current infrared I'd say it possible. 50-50 by my estimation.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 670
316. sunlinepr
1:52 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia – Thousands of evacuees who risked a trip home near a deadly Indonesian volcano fled in panic as the mountain spewed more searing ash clouds Sunday, while rescuers finally resumed aid to tsunami victims in the country's other unfolding disaster.

The number of people killed in the twin catastrophes climbed to almost 500 on Sunday, as dozens more bodies were found in the tsunami-ravaged Mentawai islands.
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
315. Grothar
1:52 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting hydrus:
I have to go . G,nite to all and God Bless..:)


Take care, hydrus.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27211
314. GeoffreyWPB
1:51 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11557
313. Grothar
1:51 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


You’re a regular Henny OldMan tonight. :)


You have a ready wit. Tell me when it's ready. HY
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27211
312. kimoskee
1:50 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
What would it take to have him recurve and go through the Mona Passage and out to sea?

(This was suggested a few pages ago)

Is that even possible?
Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
311. JRRP
1:50 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6213
310. hydrus
1:49 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
I have to go . G,nite to all and God Bless..:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22728
309. Grothar
1:48 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Nightmare scenario by the GFDL.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27211
308. GeoffreyWPB
1:47 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting Grothar:


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


You’re a regular Henny OldMan tonight. :)
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11557
307. AstroHurricane001
1:46 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Tomas is weakening considerably now, but is expected to re-strengthen again and hit Haiti as a cat. 2 or 3 hurricane. The last two hurricanes to either make landfall in, pass over, or pass very close to Haiti were Allen 1980 and David 1979.

Hurricane Allen:

220 people killed, $400 million USD damage in Haiti.

Hurricane David:

No fatalities reported in Haiti, but over 2,000 and over $1 billion USD in Dominican Republic.

Rarely does a hurricane strike Hispanola this late in the season.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2836
306. hydrus
1:45 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting Grothar:


Nah, Pasteur used to give them to me for free. Nice guy.
Yeah, louie was alright...He was good to have around if ya got bit by a bat instead of the bug...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22728
305. Grothar
1:42 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Down here they give the flu shot for free.


Not here, even the nasal spray vaccines, we have pay through the nose.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27211
304. Grothar
1:40 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
You are funny. Just realized what you said.


This is for you, wondered if anyone would catch it.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27211
303. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
1:39 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Perth
Tropical Cyclone Advice #13
TROPICAL CYCLONE ANGGREK (01U)
9:00 PM WST November 1 2010
======================================

At 8:00 am WST (6:30am Cocos local time) Tropical Cyclone Anggrek, Category 2 (989 hPa) located at 9.9S 97.4E or about 260 km north northeast of Cocos Islands has 10 knots of 50 knots with gusts of 70 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving southeast at 4 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T3.5/3.5/D0.5/24HRS

Storm Force Winds
=================
40 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
=================
80 NM from the center

Tropical Cyclone Anggrek is expected to intensify during Monday as it moves southwards towards the Cocos Islands. Squalls on the islands will get gradually stronger during the day with periods of gale force winds by nightfall.

With the cyclone expected to curve around toward the west on Tuesday it is likely that it will be close to Cocos for an extended period and so gales may continue throughout Tuesday. If the cyclone passes close by VERY DESTRUCTIVE wind gusts will occur and tides are likely to rise above the normal high tide mark with DAMAGING WAVES and flooding of low lying areas.

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

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 10.9S 97.8E - 60 knots (CAT 2)
24 HRS: 11.9S 97.9E - 70 knots (CAT 3)
48 HRS: 13.4S 96.3E - 75 knots (CAT 3)
72 HRS: 14.5S 94.2E - 60 knots (CAT 2)

Additional Information
=======================
The system was located using TRMM and AMSRE passes at 21 and 19Z together with animated IR and NIR imagery. A shear pattern consistently gives a DT of T3.5 which is consistent with CIMSS AMSU intensity estimates. The latest SATCON is slightly lower as a result of lower ADT CI numbers but the last four images have
seen adjustment of the CI upwards based on consistency higher Raw T numbers, with the CI reaching 3.3 by 00Z. A warm spot has appeared on the 2330 MTSAT IR image. Although it has the appearance of a eye this is not consistent with other data, particularly the structure revealed in microwave imagery. The warm spot
has appeared down shear of an overshooting Cb top that had a scattering signature in the 37GHz TMM image and at this stage it is believed to be caused by downward motion initiated by interaction of the overshooting top of the Cb with the tropopause.

The MET is 3.5 based on a 24 hour trend of D-. Pattern matching indicates no adjustment hence both DT and MET/PAT are 3.5. The final wind intensity estimate is assigned at 50 knots.
Moderate shear continues over the system, although upper flow is markedly diffluent. Conditions are forecast to become more favorable during today with shear forecast to diminish and an outflow channel likely to become better established to the south.
Based on the expected conditions, and in general agreement with the trend in NWP
and STIPS, the system is forecast to reach hurricane intensity early Tuesday.

The spread of model guidance indicates the Cocos Islands have a high risk of impact from hurricane force winds during Tuesday. As the system passes south of 12S the ocean heat content becomes marginal. The system is also likely to encounter more stable boundary layer air in the wake of the mid latitude system. Hence the system is expected to weaken as it moves off to the southwest on Wednesday. STIPS is consistent with this but some NWP guidance do not weaken the system until later.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 52 Comments: 47101
302. Grothar
1:38 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting hydrus:
So what do you do when its time for yours? One flu shot for each of your 90 years would come about 16,000,000,000 dollars...You must be rich.....Looks like some of the island took a beating..


Nah, Pasteur used to give them to me for free. Nice guy.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27211
301. stormwatcherCI
1:38 AM GMT on November 01, 2010
Quoting Grothar:
It is getting stronger on each run. We'll have to wait and see if it does that in all 5 quadrants.

You are funny. Just realized what you said.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
Quoting hydrus:
So what do you do when its time for yours? One flu shot for each of your 90 years would come about 16,000,000,000 dollars...You must be rich.....Looks like some of the island took a beating..
Down here they give the flu shot for free.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
Quoting hydrus:
Well I must say, If the storm stays like it is, we may see a much better outcome from this thing than originally feared...I cheer for shear....:)


I'm with you! SHEAR! SHEAR! SHEAR!

Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
Quoting DoverWxwatchter:


How rare is a deviation of 6 standard deviations anyway?


In weather, not rare at all.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27211
Quoting hydrus:
Probably feasting on the warm water..Hope you are well Gro...I gots da flu.....
Hope you soon feel better. Bad one going around here too.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
Quoting Grothar:


Looking stronger on each run. I am quite well, thanks. Sorry to hear you are not. Why didn't you get the flu shot? You know it is recommmended for everyone over 90.
So what do you do when its time for yours? One flu shot for each of your 90 years would come about 16,000,000,000 dollars...You must be rich.....Looks like some of the island took a beating..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22728
Quoting hydrus:
Probably feasting on the warm water..Hope you are well Gro...I gots da flu.....


Looking stronger on each run. I am quite well, thanks. Sorry to hear you are not. Why didn't you get the flu shot? You know it is recommmended for everyone over 90.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27211
Quoting Grothar:
It is getting stronger on each run. We'll have to wait and see if it does that in all 5 quadrants.

It looks like someone hit Tomas with a heavy duty fly swatter...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22728
Quoting BahaHurican:
I'd be more interested in plans to minimize loss of life amongst those stranded in the tent camps. Best case would be to take the tents down until the storm has passed, but that would involve finding a place for people to take refuge from the rain; this, of course is why they need tents in the first place...


Its truly a very dangerous scenario for them. 250 people just died from e-coli and cholera. Rain and wind will only spread disease. Very sad.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Portlight:


relief workers are there to help....Why would they want to evacuate?! over1 million Haitians are living under bedsheets in makeshift camps....there will be plenty of wind damage


Well if they don't evacuate I hope they can find safe shelters for them. Tents are probably not a good place to be.
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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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