Tomas gradually strengthening; 14 dead in St. Lucia from the storm

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:58 PM GMT on November 02, 2010

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The islands of St. Lucia, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines continue to assess damage and clean up after Hurricane Tomas pounded the Lesser Antilles as a strengthening Category 1 hurricane with 90 - 95 mph winds on Saturday. St. Lucia was hardest hit, with fourteen people dead, many more missing, and damage estimated at $100 million--about 10% of the nation's GDP. Damage on neighboring St. Vincent was estimated at $62 million, which is 4% of that nation's GDP. The storm damaged 1,200 houses, and the northern half of the island, where most of the crops are, was badly hit, with no banana trees left standing and the plantain crop wiped out. Banana production employs 60% of the workforce on St. Vincent, and accounts for more than 50% of their exports. Also hard-hit was Barbados, where damage estimates are at $55 million, 1.5% of the nation's GDP. Tomas may be the most damaging storm to affect the island since Hurricane Janet of 1955. The havoc wreaked by Tomas in the Lesser Antilles makes is likely that the name Tomas will be retired from the list of active hurricane names in the Atlantic.


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

Tomas gradually strengthening
Satellite loops of Tomas show a considerably more organized storm than yesterday, with a modest but increasing amount of heavy thunderstorm activity. However, low-level spiral bands are limited, and upper-level outflow is weak, and Tomas is not in danger of building an eyewall today. Curacao radar shows that the echoes from Tomas are disorganized, with no spiral banding apparent. Wind shear has declined to a moderate 10 -15 knots and the atmosphere in the Caribbean has moistened over the past day, allowing Tomas to re-organize. A hurricane hunter aircraft is on its way to Tomas this morning, and will have a better estimate of the storm's strength by early this afternoon.


Figure 2. Curacao radar at 10:07am EDT on Tuesday, November 2, 2010, showed a large area of rain associated with Tomas over the central Caribbean, but these echoes were poorly organized.

Track forecast for Tomas
The ridge of high pressure pushing Tomas to the west has weakened, allowing Tomas to slow down slightly to a forward speed of 10 mph this morning. This speed will decrease further to 5 mph tonight, as a trough of low pressure approaches the eastern U.S. and breaks down the ridge. By Wednesday, the trough to Tomas' north should be able to pull the storm to the northwest. Tomas' outer spiral bands will bring heavy rains to southwestern Haiti and eastern Jamaica beginning on Thursday night. The computer models have come into better agreement that Tomas will turn more to the north-northeast by Friday, with Haiti or Jamaica the most likely landfall locations. NHC is giving Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a 50% chance of receiving tropical storm force winds, and a 6% chance of hurricane force winds. These odds are 45% and 7%, respectively for Kingston, Jamaica, and 23% and 3% for Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

Tomas may stall
The models are increasingly suggesting the once Tomas begins moving to the north-northeast, the trough pulling the storm that direction will lift out, stranding Tomas in a region of weak steering currents. Tomas may then wander and dump heavy rains for several days, Saturday through Monday. Given recent model trends, I believe this is likely, but the exact location where Tomas might be stranded is uncertain. The NOGAPS model gives a nightmare scenario for Haiti, with Tomas remaining stationary just off the coast from Port-Au-Prince as a hurricane for many days. The UKMET stalls Tomas over the Turk and Caicos Islands, while the GFS, GFDL, and ECMWF models predict Tomas will stall several hundred miles north of Hispaniola and drift eastwards. It's reasonable to go with the model consensus and predict Tomas will pass over western Haiti and stall far enough north of the nation so that heavy rains will not linger over Hispaniola for many days. The uncertainties in the track forecast are greater than usual, though.

Intensity forecast for Tomas
Wind shear as diagnosed by the SHIPS model has dropped to the moderate range, 10 - 15 knots, and is predicted to stay low to moderate, 5 - 15 knots, for the remainder of the week. The relaxation of shear should allow Tomas to continue to re-organize over the next few days. Aiding this process will be an increasingly moist atmosphere. Dry air has decreased significantly over the past 24 hours, as seen on water vapor satellite imagery, and the models predict a very moist atmosphere will surround Tomas for the remainder of the week. With SSTs at a record warm 29.5°C and a very high ocean heat content, there is a substantial danger that Tomas will undergo a period of rapid intensification once it rebuilds its inner core and establishes an eyewall. This is not likely to happen today, but could occur as early as Wednesday night. This may give Tomas sufficient time to intensify into a major hurricane before landfall in Haiti or Jamaica, as predicted by the GFDL model. The most reasonable intensity forecast at this point is to call for a landfall on Friday at Category 2 strength, but Tomas could easily be anywhere from Category 1 to Category 3 hurricane strength on Friday. NHC is giving Tomas a 19% chance of reaching Category 3+ strength; I believe these odds are higher, 40%. With the atmosphere expected to be very moist, it is likely that Tomas will dump very heavy rains of 4 - 8 inches over much of Haiti, even if Tomas strikes as a tropical storm. Rains of this magnitude are capable of causing heavy loss of life due to extreme floods running down Haiti's deforested mountain slopes. Portlight.org is preparing to send their mobile kitchen with enough food to feed 500 people per day, if Tomas continues on its current forecast path.


Figure 3. Plot of all Category 1 and stronger hurricanes to pass within 50 miles of Barbados since reliable record keeping began in 1851. Image credit: NOAA Coastal Services Center.

Barbados hurricane history
Tomas is the strongest hurricane to affect Barbados since Category 3 Hurricane Allen of 1980, which passed just north of the island. Allen did $4 million in damage, compared to Tomas' $55 million. The deadliest hurricane in Barbados history was the Category 5 Great Hurricane of 1780, which killed approximately 4500 people on the island, and leveled every building, including the stone governor's mansion. The Great Hurricane of 1780 was also the Atlantic's deadliest hurricane of all-time, with 22,000 fatalities, mostly in the Lesser Antilles Islands.

Next update
I'll have an update Wednesday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting stormpetrol:
.
Are you in the Cayman Islands ?
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
Latest WV image of the trough and cut off low.
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Quoting stormwatcherCI:



I am still seeing a possibility of a Paloma type track.
i highly doubt it will hit cuba, i think once it makes a northerly turn, it will steer off to the north east pretty fast.
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011



Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Quoting stormpetrol:

Cut off low, will it dig deep enough??
yes!
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
Quoting stormpetrol:


I don't want Tomas to hit anywhere, but this west and staying south movement is getting a little too close for comfort, personally I don't think he has slowed that much! THis time so tomorrow night we'll have a better idea of what path Tomas might take , JMO.



I am still seeing a possibility of a Paloma type track.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8392
Quoting scott39:
Im wondering If Tomas has moved faster in forward speed than the NHCs forecast and the trough is moving slower? I dont know about the trough, but I do think Tomas has moved faster than forecasted. IMO
Farther due W I mean.
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:

14.13N 75.54W
thanks
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7931
Quoting Dakster:


Hmmm. Maybe, but I think it is more likely that the ridge to the north is eroding and the steering currents are weak. It is definetly gettng setup to take the turn.

I am a little worried that Tomas is further south than anticipated, so the trof may not be enough to pull Tomas up, up, and away.
you might be right!! I have to do a little more research
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
T.C.F.W.
21L/TS/T/CX
mark
14.12N/75.08W
IR ANIM/WV ANIM IMAGE
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Quoting stormpetrol:


I don't want Tomas to hit anywhere, but this west and staying south movement is getting a little too close for comfort, personally I don't think he has slowed that much! THis time so tomorrow night we'll have a better idea of what path Tomas might take , JMO.
Im wondering If Tomas has moved faster in forward speed than the NHCs forecast and the trough is moving slower? I dont know about the trough, but I do think Tomas has moved faster than forecasted. IMO
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Quoting scott39:
Tomas had slowed down this morning and then picked back up forward speed this afternoon and then slowed down again on this advisory. Im not so sure the trough is making him slow down yet. Also the 11pm discussion ought to be interesting because if you look at the tropical points on the 5pm advisory on the sat,they seem off.


I don't want Tomas to hit anywhere, but this west and staying south movement is getting a little too close for comfort, personally I don't think he has slowed that much! THis time so tomorrow night we'll have a better idea of what path Tomas might take , JMO.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7931
Wow. Great inflow, Tomas! It's getting ready to crank up.
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Quoting PRweathercenter:
do you have the coordinates?

14.13N 75.54W
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Quoting Dakster:


Only for those living in CONUS...


Even though PR is part of the US? I guess that makes sense as they are pretty much separate from us.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
ADT believes Tomas's COC relocated to the deep convection and is quickly strengthening.

RAW T up to 4.4
do you have the coordinates?
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
540. Gorty
How come it is rare people use the chat? And earlier today NHC brought Tomas back to Cat 3. thankfully they now only show him making it up to Cat 2.
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Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Tomas had slowed down this morning and then picked back up forward speed this afternoon and then slowed down again on this advisory. Im not so sure the trough is making him slow down yet. Also the 11pm discussion ought to be interesting because if you look at the tropical points on the 5pm advisory on the sat,they seem off.
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ADT believes Tomas's COC relocated to the deep convection and is quickly strengthening.

RAW T up to 4.4
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536. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting JRRP:
i think is 13.3n 74.1w


That would be the one recon left.. interesting to see ADT is being done off a relocated one, which is more out the graveyard. Makes me want to weight the odds a little. We'll see what D-max brings. Hope ASCAT hits it.
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ADT is flip-flopping now at 14.13N 75.54W
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Yes yes give to Portlight. The people not getting the money and the food and the supplies.I don't know what to say about Haiti, maybe the people can be absorbed into other nations. Trinidad and Tobago offered free college assistance at the University of the West Indies for some students. They have wonderful living arrangements, food and everything.
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Quoting PRweathercenter:
I think it will slow down alot, but i think that he may have already made that turn


Hmmm. Maybe, but I think it is more likely that the ridge to the north is eroding and the steering currents are weak. It is definetly gettng setup to take the turn.

I am a little worried that Tomas is further south than anticipated, so the trof may not be enough to pull Tomas up, up, and away.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10462
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7931
Quoting Skyepony:
~14.3N 75.6W

yeah, and a slight movement towards the North West, I sure do hope Haiti is prepared!
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
Quoting hurristat:
Is it also election day for the puertorriquenos?


Only for those living in CONUS...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10462
UW-CIMSS Automated Satellite-Based
Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT)
Version 8.1.1
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Estimation Algorithm

Current Intensity Analysis



UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.1
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 02 NOV 2010 Time : 231500 UTC
Lat : 14:07:31 N Lon : 75:32:35 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
4.0 / 990.1mb/ 65.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
4.0 4.3 4.4

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +3.1mb

Center Temp : -79.1C Cloud Region Temp : -76.5C

Scene Type : UNIFORM CDO CLOUD REGION

Positioning Method : SPIRAL ANALYSIS

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 1.2T/12hr
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

****************************************************
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
528. Mixed
Guys Whats Up I Can See An Area Of Low Pressure Forming South East Of The Windward Islands. We Cant Take Anymore Down Here In St Lucia. My Hometown Worst Hit In St Lucia, I Have Quite A Bit Of Pics Just Follow The Link To Facebook Album.
Soufriere Disaster
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Quoting Dakster:
NHC 8pm - Tomas s-l-o-w-s down... The predicted stalling is occurring.
I think it will slow down alot, but i think that he may have already made that turn
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
Quoting 7544:
any one think tomas will now make it to 80 west ?or alittle further west and stay south before the big turn ?
he seems to be moving now towards the NW, i don't think so
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
Quoting hurristat:
Is it also election day for the puertorriquenos?

nope
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
524. 7544
any one think tomas will now make it to 80 west ?or alittle further west and stay south before the big turn ?
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Is it also election day for the puertorriquenos?
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1932 Hurricane track
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7931
NHC 8pm - Tomas s-l-o-w-s down... The predicted stalling is occurring.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10462
520. Skyepony (Mod)
That is as fresh a cloudsat as we get.. the frame isn't even finished but it captures the west side of the GOM, that front coming at me in drought ridden portion of FL. Wish it had more rain..

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Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5234
517. JRRP
i think is 13.3n 74.1w
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
I wouldn't touch that line with a ten foot protractor.

LMAO!!! Just keep voting often :)
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7931
I can tell you firsthand the work that Portlight does and the people they help. They make sure the supplies get to the neediest of the needy - and - have very little administrative overhead.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10462
Quoting stormpetrol:
Tomas has sure grown huge in the last day!
I wouldn't touch that line with a ten foot protractor.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5611
513. Skyepony (Mod)
~14.3N 75.6W

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Orca - Think a Hockey Game might break out tonight at the fights?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10462
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5234
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Hi


I was joking that you were insulting northerners, even though you weren't, lol.

Quoting Jeff9641:


Yes if you do it thru on ground operations then it will get to the people. What my family has discovered money going straight to the Haitian Government is not going to the people. Infact once my granddad post the pictures online then I will have them available for everybody to view just so you can see first hand how no progress has been made. Very very sad situation there.


So don't donate at all, because that makes the situation better. Most of the money that is donated to NGOs still goes through to the people and helps. So yes, the government may be corrupt, but that shouldn't stop you from donating. I'd wish you'd stop posting these posts on the blog. While you can steer people away from donating to the government, at least point out that you can donate to NGOs for help, and give a few examples, rather than just telling people not to donate at all. Thanks.

Quoting Floodman:
Recent experience in Haiti has shown again and again that smaller groups (Portlight among them) are the most effective in getting point to point donations into the hands of those most in need. I am NOT saying you shouldn't give money to the UNICEFs of the world; in fact I tend to give to them when I can, but they (the larger organizations) spend a good deal of time wondering who to give the money to rather than getting it to those with immediate need. Also, take into account that mentioning the Red Cross or the UN to people in Haiti and you're liabel to get roughed up...the people of Haiti have a pretty good idea how much has been given to the large NGOs and they also know how little has been used to help them...just saying
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Quoting Autistic2:


Strange, the harder I work the less disadvantaged I am.....

Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
who

LOL
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 56

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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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