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

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

Share this Blog
4
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 508 - 458

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21Blog Index

508. augfan
11:53 PM GMT on November 02, 2010
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
507. weatherwatcher12
11:53 PM GMT on November 02, 2010
FLIGHT TWO -- TEAL 71
A. 03/0600Z
B. AFXXX 0921A TOMAS
C. 03/0230Z
D. 14.1N 73.7W
E. 03/0430Z TO 03/0830Z
F. SFC TO 15,000 FT
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
506. kmanislander
11:51 PM GMT on November 02, 2010
13.5 / 75 as per the 8 pm.

We'll see what the HH finds later
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
505. Skyepony (Mod)
11:51 PM GMT on November 02, 2010
Quoting belizewunderfan:
Ok....so there is NO CHANCE that Tomas will NOT curve and head to my Third World Country, right? :)


Belize? 2010? You should be refreshing your supplies til it & all other T-waves have past 40N or 100W..


Comment on the Sean Penn camp~ saw an article earlier today there that interviewed people from that camp & none of them knew about Tomas.


Part a more recent article..

GENEVA - Relief agencies on Tuesday stepped up emergency plans to protect up to 500,000 Haitians from a tropical storm forecast to hit the country amid fears that it could also help the cholera epidemic spread.

"The UN in Haiti, MINUSTAR (peacekeeping force), are setting up an emergency plan designed to cope with Hurricane Tomas, which is approaching the island and could affect up to half a million people," said UN spokeswoman Corinne Momal Vanian.

Some of the 1.3 million homeless quake victims have been evacuated from flimsy makeshift camps in the Port-au-Prince area, while food supplies for 1.1 million people as well as shelter and medical supplies were pre-positioned.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesman Jean Philippe Chauzy said the storm "could aggravate the cholera epidemic" if it hit the country by helping the waterborne bacterial disease spread into Port-au-Prince.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 227 Comments: 39452
504. JLPR2
11:51 PM GMT on November 02, 2010
Quoting kmanislander:


76.5 corrected to 75.5


I corrected the quote.
I guess we wont know for sure until the HHs get in there.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
503. Orcasystems
11:48 PM GMT on November 02, 2010
Complete Update

Well another hard day of work is finished.. off to the home abode and watch Tomas and the Canucks :)


AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TSPIN BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
502. kmanislander
11:47 PM GMT on November 02, 2010
Quoting JLPR2:


Hmm... a center relocation would throw out the window the broad and disorganized LLC.
I hope there is no new center. :\


76.5 corrected to 75.5
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
501. stormpetrol
11:47 PM GMT on November 02, 2010
Tomas has sure grown huge in the last day!
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8134
500. JLPR2
Quoting kmanislander:
Good evening

14.5 N / 75.5 W

Possible center relocation under the deep convection ?.



Hmm... a center relocation would throw out the window the broad and disorganized LLC.
I hope there is no new center. :\
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
I'm still not too sure that the trough is going to have the effect on Tomas that it is forecasted to but to be honest I don't know.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8134
Good evening

14.5 N / 75.5 W

Possible center relocation under the deep convection ?.

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Looks like that ULL has hit the base of the trof and is now heading E or ENE
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5248
Quoting Inactivity:
When the HH going back into Tomas?

I think they take off at around 10-10:30 tonight
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8134
If a hurricane ever had snow it could be called a snurricane!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
If you guys want to see the destruction Tomas has left in St. Lucia go here Link is amazing and sad.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Hurricane1956:
In this type of cases so late in the Season never said never!!,the latest GFDL and NGP stall the hurricane just north of Haiti and it jumps to the West,maybe the front coming down will not be enough to kick Tomas to the NE completely,them what happen??.
Speaking of Florida storms I remember Tropical Storm Keith in 1988! Keith made landfall near Sarasota Florida on November 23, 1988 the day before Thanksgiving. I was in High School at the time we thought we might get the day before Thanksgiving off of School, but no such luck! With low temperatures in the 40s Saturday and Sunday it will make it verry hard for a Hurricane to hit this part of Florida!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WinkingBlueJay:
Does anyone know what the rationale is for this northerly trajectory-projection to the Outer Banks?



Thanks in advance.

There are lots of models being run by various met centers, this one being LSU. Software programming is fed into computers, each model a variation on how far TOMAS can travel in a set period. BAMD, not one of the conventional models, has him in the Outer Banks at the end of the period. I don't recognize very many of these models and IMHO, no reason for worry until the principal model set indicates that TOMAS will last until then.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 56
When the HH going back into Tomas?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
been raining alot in prico? heard there is an outbreak of dengue fever? unfornately one of the pro surfers who is competing there recently picked it up and died today. rip andy irons 3xworld champ p rico's mkting just backfired
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looks almost like 2 different areas could be competing for the dominant center one at 13.8N/75.5W, the other at 13N/73W ???
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8134
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Kid....I'm in Florida....I've been voting early, and often.
.


I guess thats better than drinking beer in the bowling alley all day.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting belizewunderfan:
Ok....so there is NO CHANCE that Tomas will NOT curve and head to my Third World Country, right? :)


I hope it turns north soon.
REPORT:
It has been raining in South Costa Rica for 9 hours now (not so heavy rainfall though.), and it is still raining at this time. The "Comision Nacional de Emergencias" has declared Yellow color emergency for most of the country ( from green to red scale)
There are 150 people who have been evacuated in shelters.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I wonder if outflow from the easterly convection blog is causing the center to move more quickly?

Anyone have any thoughts on that?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

It's the Advanced Dvorak technique, which is a satellite estimate, it's not the official NHC data.


Thanks! Just not used to seeing that kind of discrepancy between the numbers.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
482. JLPR2
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

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

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 02 NOV 2010 Time : 221500 UTC
Lat : 14:05:30 N Lon : 75:13:03 W


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


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.9 4.2 4.2

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +3.1mb

Center Temp : -79.7C Cloud Region Temp : -76.3C

Scene Type : UNIFORM CDO CLOUD REGION

Positioning Method : SPIRAL ANALYSIS

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

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : ON
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

****************************************************


Seems a little drastic, the system may look strong but the reality as the HH found is very different, unless the circulation organized dramatically, but it just cant be that strong, maybe a 45-50mph TS but 65 knots, seriously? xD
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
Quoting belizewunderfan:
Ok....so there is NO CHANCE that Tomas will NOT curve and head to my Third World Country, right? :)
+100
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Distrakted:

It's the Advanced Dvorak technique, which is a satellite estimate, it's not the official NHC data.
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Estimated pressure of 990mb with 65kt winds? Am I misinterpreting something, that seems like far too drastic a change from 5pm when Tomas had a minimum pressure of 1006mb and 35kt sustained winds.

Screwed up the quote and removed it, hence the post edit. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
kind of going up and down, but seems to be on a slight uptrend...I have to think that the further north he trends, the more likely he will be to get grabbed by the trough and to rocket past Jamaica and Haiti.

If you want lives saved...root for latitude.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting uncljbnd:
Center is 75.5 and 14 right now.

Still heading just north of due west.


Is he still weakening or is he starting to get it together again?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ok....so there is NO CHANCE that Tomas will NOT curve and head to my Third World Country, right? :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chucktown:


This time of the year, there is much less of a chance for any type of high pressure to build back in and push Tomas back west. August, September, yes, but not early November. This trough that is headed east is a full latitude trough. The northern and southern branches of the jet are phasing and will sweep anything out of the Caribbean. This is why we are seeing such a consensus with the sharp turn to the NE.


How is my favorite Carolina weatherman?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10811
I'm going to wait for the NHC coordinates before telling direction.
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Center is 75.5 and 14 right now.

Still heading just north of due west.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

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

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 02 NOV 2010 Time : 221500 UTC
Lat : 14:05:30 N Lon : 75:13:03 W


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


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.9 4.2 4.2

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +3.1mb

Center Temp : -79.7C Cloud Region Temp : -76.3C

Scene Type : UNIFORM CDO CLOUD REGION

Positioning Method : SPIRAL ANALYSIS

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

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : ON
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

****************************************************

Perhaps a more North west movement
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
Tomas satellite image and forecast pointLink
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Kid....I'm in Florida....I've been voting early, and often.
.


Me too! I voted 5 times last week and once today.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10811

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

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 02 NOV 2010 Time : 221500 UTC
Lat : 14:05:30 N Lon : 75:13:03 W


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


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.9 4.2 4.2

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +3.1mb

Center Temp : -79.7C Cloud Region Temp : -76.3C

Scene Type : UNIFORM CDO CLOUD REGION

Positioning Method : SPIRAL ANALYSIS

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

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : ON
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

****************************************************
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Tomas is already moving WNW, it's already north of it's forecast point
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011
Quoting stormpetrol:
TOmas moving faster than anticipated, should be past 76W at 2am at this forward spped, that is key, I still think between the Caymans and Jamaica is where the north turn will take place or if it does not decrease in forward a Paloma track like 2008


Stormpetrol, I sure hope it pulls up before then. Come on Nor'wester. That front should influence GCM in < 48 hrs. While it may come as far W as 79-80W, I think it is likely to retreat (or stall/linger) & head N. What do think?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaptainKid:
Where have you been Cosmic?
Kid....I'm in Florida....I've been voting early, and often.
.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5689
Where have you been Cosmic?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting lickitysplit:
What a bunch of assholes.
who
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting AaronJ0072:
Can anyone tell me if a hurricane or topical storm has ever been the cause of a major snow event instead of a rain event? Just wondering..
Wow!
A member since 2003.
You've got to be right up there in longest member department.
And your first post is a question that I think I can handle.....I would say No.....both tropical storms and hurricanes are by definition cyclones that develop over southern tropical waters. I believe in the historical record there's been a case of some tropical cyclone slipping north enough in late season to have some part of it wind up producing snow in a small area.....but no major snow events.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5689
Quoting Grenada:



I don't feel disadvantaged at all. Pig's trotter anyone?
No thanks. I have curry chicken. LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 508 - 458

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
43 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron