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 Grenada:



I don't feel disadvantaged at all. Pig's trotter anyone?
No thanks. I have curry chicken. LOL
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8347
Quoting Bordonaro:

I am listening to your local radio station..
Kuddos they're doing a great job :O).

Thanks, I do love their coverage of such events.
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Quoting Autistic2:


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



I don't feel disadvantaged at all. Pig's trotter anyone?
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Quoting aprinz1979:


Thks a bunch

We need to give. I have information, from a reliable source and my contact is a meteorologist, and Tomas will possibly have very negative effect in Haiti..
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:
Jeff Masters is on my local radio station!!

I am listening to your local radio station..
Kuddos they're doing a great job :O).
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
We all know how disadvantaged they are. For you to bring it up is insensitive.


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


When I was there in February for USaid setting up comms, our problem was the citizens kept stealing anything that wasn't bolted down. So you think it was because they figured if we weren't giving them money outright, they felt that it was OK to steal?
In other words, you seem to be saying, if you're not with a church group, the natives don't appreciate your help or don't perceive it as help bonafide?
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Portlight Strategies, their direct link:

Link


Thks a bunch
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:

"THE GOVERNMENT OF JAMAICA HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WATCH FOR JAMAICA." The NHC cannot put us under anything, it's our govt.


Agreed... The point is the NHC was making it public before there was any confirmation form the Met Office or any other Government body.

The Met Office in Jamaica in my opinion tends be tardy...

I have stopped listening to their updates for years when it comes to June-November.

During that period its NHC, Weatherunderground, Accuweather for me. Use to follow TWC but they not on cable anymore were I am and their website not what it use to be.
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
No, your stirring the pot. I know you.

But that's OK. I love you, man!
thats good
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53778
Forecast for S.W. Florida (Ft Myers to Naples)

Nov 6 - Nov 11 the forecast is for beautiful sunny weather with temps ranging from mid 70s to mid 80s with 0% chance of rain.

Next week would be a great week to vacation in South Florida.
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I was wondering how Jeff was going to get around that question... Jeff just stated he expects one more storm after Tomas.
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Dr M. expects at least one more this season.
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
444. DDR
Evening
The rains are back
Picked up close to 3 inches at my location with street/flash floods in the area.

Met office from earlier today

SPORADIC SHOWERS AND ISOLATED AFTERNOON
THUNDERSHOWERS OVER WEST TRINIDAD


Thermally driven dynamics along with light low
level winds are producing conditions favourable
for large cloud development along the west coast
of Trinidad.
Locations along west Trinidad, but not entirely
exclusive to, should therefore expect afternoon
showers and thundershowers. The rainfall activity
could produce moderate or possibly severe
street/flash flooding. Small river courses
receiving the rainfall run-off could also become
inundated. Land slippage/slides are likely.
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Calling for over a foot of rain in Haiti and 6" on the east coast of Jamaica.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


TY :)

NP, as soon as I heard I came here :)
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Quoting twhcracker:


yeah like how would they find out there is a hurricane watch, on their plasma tv sets?

I went to Guatemala, which economically is close to Haiti (probably a little better) most people don't have means of communication at their home but most people can get to some populated area in 20 minutes and there is internet and tv there. Although I do think it is unlikely that some of the people go into town often enough to see the warnings. I was only there for a week take what I say with a spoonfull of salt
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2372
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..
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Quoting weatherwatcher12:
Listen here. Link


TY :)
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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??.


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.
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Quoting hurricaneeye:

HEY, Everyone!

When are you expecting Tomas to turn North or WNW?
I would like to know what you think.
Thanks
77w
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53778
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
We all know how disadvantaged they are. For you to bring it up is insensitive.
i figured you forgot to add it like all the other times you made the same statement
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53778
Listen here. Link
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Jeff Masters is on my local radio station!!
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231

HEY, Everyone!

When are you expecting Tomas to turn North or WNW?
I would like to know what you think.
Thanks
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Quoting twhcracker:


yeah like how would they find out there is a hurricane watch, on their plasma tv sets?

They do have cell phones, land lines and TV, yes. However, almost 1 million people are in the direct path of Tomas, with no reliable shelter..
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Quoting Chucktown:


There is no way this storm will have any impact on Florida. Even if Tomas does move a little further west because the trough slows a tad, all the "weather" will be on the NE side of the storm due to the strong SW flow ahead of the trough.
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??.
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Quoting hurricaneben:


Well if tracks continue to shift more West, maybe not a major threat but we could see some rather gusty winds in S Florida a bit closer to the weekend.


We'll definately see gusty winds this weekend from the frontal passage and building high pressure. Should see some really choppy conditions (high seas) on the west coast (Tampa south to Naples Florida).
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423 Flood - Amen.
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Quoting Bordonaro:

Haiti is in a state of mass chaos. Almost NONE of the promised billion plus USD have made it to Haiti. People are sick any dying, their nation is a literally hanging on by a thread.


yeah like how would they find out there is a hurricane watch, on their plasma tv sets?
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
America has been very fortunate this year to have escaped the ravages of hurricanes for the most part this year. No hits on solid land were sustained. We sympathize with our neighbors to the south whose beautiful countries were repeatedly affected by hits to their solid land and we offer our prayers that they may recover. We offer financial, humanitarian, moral and psychological support to those seeking our help. We pray that the Evil Tomas will not touch their pristine beaches and fragile economies. November 30 is not far away.

+100, What a difference a little wording can make!
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7862
.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
America has been very fortunate this year to have escaped the ravages of hurricanes for the most part this year. No hits on solid land were sustained. We sympathize with our neighbors to the south whose beautiful countries were repeatedly affected by hits to their solid land and we offer our prayers that they may recover. We offer financial, humanitarian, moral and psychological support to those seeking our help. We pray that the Evil Tomas will not touch their pristine beaches and fragile economies. November 30 is not far away.
you forgot to mention that thy are third world contries
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53778
Quoting hurricaneben:


Well if tracks continue to shift more West, maybe not a major threat but we could see some rather gusty winds in S Florida a bit closer to the weekend.


There is no way this storm will have any impact on Florida. Even if Tomas does move a little further west because the trough slows a tad, all the "weather" will be on the NE side of the storm due to the strong SW flow ahead of the trough.
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Quoting sebastianflorida:
my newsguy just said "from what I see, there is more possibility now that Florida could get the impacts of Tomas, forecasts do not seem to panning out as predicted, that may be good for Haiti, but ultimately bad for some part of Florida" he also said, "do not panic yet, we should know more by this time Weds, however he sees the cone to continue moving west, it is only a matter of how far west, possibly a closer call for Florida, than what is currently being predicted"


Well if tracks continue to shift more West, maybe not a major threat but we could see some rather gusty winds in S Florida a bit closer to the weekend.
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1932_Cuba_hurricane
Could also be track very similar to the 1932 Hurricane.Link
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7862
417. JLPR2
The disturbance in the CATL which lost its convection is now a 1009mb weak area of low pressure.

Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8687
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
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7862
Keep on W....

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Quoting kmanislander:


Not long now before the present steering regime collapses and the flow switches out of the SW. Tomas should slow tonight, possibly to a crawl then start accelerating to the WNW, NW, N and finally off to the NNE



How far west (at what point - longtitude) do you think Tomas will come before the break to E of N?
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21L/TS/T
mark
13.56N/74.85W
IR ANIM/WV ANIM IMAGE
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53778
my newsguy just said "from what I see, there is more possibility now that Florida could get the impacts of Tomas, forecasts do not seem to panning out as predicted, that may be good for Haiti, but ultimately bad for some part of Florida" he also said, "do not panic yet, we should know more by this time Weds, however he sees the cone to continue moving west, it is only a matter of how far west, possibly a closer call for Florida, than what is currently being predicted"
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I see look like Tomas is starting to get his act together again, will be interesting to see what the HHs find around midnight.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7862
Quoting Seastep:


I am partial to CRS and they are very good with 95% going to programs. Don't see anything on St. Lucia specifically, but you could ask.

Link

I am proud to say that my local parish raised over $100K specifically for Haiti from our parishioners.

Also note that there is zero preference towards any religious group, if that is a concern. They serve all in need, regardless. Some people have a false impression and it is not the case at all.


CRS is OUTSTANDING!!!! we have worked with them in Haiti...I personally support them...and have worked with them....
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Quoting largeeyes:
Portlight: Any recommendations on who can be donated to to help St. Lucia?

heartbreaking video: Link


I am partial to CRS and they are very good with 95% going to programs. Don't see anything on St. Lucia specifically, but you could ask.

Link

I am proud to say that my local parish raised over $100K specifically for Haiti from our parishioners.

Also note that there is zero preference towards any religious group, if that is a concern. They serve all in need, regardless. Some people have a false impression and it is not the case at all.
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Dozens of small groups are doing great work in Haiti...including the Lambi Fund and JP HRO...and Portlight, of course...also, many of thhe church related groups are doing good work..the Red Cross and UN have not been very effective and are not very popular with the people there in the greatest need...
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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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