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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...HURRICANE HUNTERS FIND TOMAS WEAKER BUT STILL FORECAST TO STRENGTHEN...HURRICANE WATCH ISSUED FOR JAMAICA...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5:00 PM EDT Tue Nov 2
Location: 13.5°N 74.6°W
Max sustained: 40 mph
Moving: W at 14 mph
Min pressure: 1006 mb

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting alvarig1263:
NHC is taking there time in issuing the advisory.


Yep. The might actually wait until 5pm to post the 5pm advisory... Unlike usual where they are 30 minutes early.

Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9717
Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Perth
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin
TROPICAL CYCLONE ANGGREK (01U)
3:00 AM WST November 2 2010
======================================

At 2:00 am WST, Tropical Cyclone Anggrek, Category 1 (990 hPa) located at 13.2S 97.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 45 knots with gusts of 65 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving south southwest at 4 knots

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5/3.0/W0.5/24HRS

Gale Force Winds
=================
40 NM from the center in northern quadrant
70 NM from the center in southern quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 13.9S 96.9E - 45 knots (CAT 1)
24 HRS: 14.6S 95.6E - 45 knots (CAT 1)
48 HRS: 15.9S 92.4E - 40 knots (CAT 1)
72 HRS: 19.2S 90.2E - 30 knots (Tropical Low)

Additional Information
=======================
Microwave imagery at 1400 UTC showed the system to be sheared with the low level circulation well north of any deep convection. The exposed LLC gives a DT of 2.5 with CI held at 3.0.

The system is now located to the southeast of Cocos Islands. It is forecast to take a southwesterly track and is unlikely to pass close enough to the islands to produce gale force winds.

As the system is now south of 12S the ocean heat content has become marginal. The system is likely to remain a weak TC for a period before weakening further as it moves southwards over cooler waters with a further increase in shear due to the passage of a mid latitude system.

How is the center exposed well to the north of the deep confection? It still looks extremely healthy to me.
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Quoting SunnyDaysFla:

And scuba diving---my favorite place in the Carib.

And some of the places are so laid back that the bar is on the honor system, you write down what you take.
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Preparations in Haiti for Tomas
Link
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NHC is taking there time in issuing the advisory.
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887

URNT12 KNHC 021849 CCA

VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL212010

A. 02/18:21:50Z

B. 13 deg 26 min N

074 deg 22 min W

C. 850 mb 1474 m

D. NA

E. NA

F. 349 deg 12 kt

G. 219 deg 35 nm

H. 1007 mb

I. 18 C / 1510 m

J. 19 C / 1520 m

K. 3 C / NA

L. NA

M. NA

N. 1345 / 8

O. 0.02 / 7 nm

P. AF300 0821A TOMAS OB 10 CCA

MAX FL WIND 30 KT NW QUAD 17:44:20Z

MAX OUTBOUND FL WIND 28 KT N QUAD 18:34:00Z

RAINING AT THE FIX POSN CALM BELOW

SFC WNDS LGT AND VAR INBOUND LEG

RELIED ON TEMP RISE FOR FIX

;
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52260
Quoting kmanislander:


Little Cayman has far less infrastructure and has never really been a population center. It is better known for being a "get away from it all " location. The only type of business activity there is providing tourist accomodation and support business for that.

It is the sort of place where you go with the intention of walking around in sandals and just plain relaxing.


Sounds like I place I would want to LIVE...

Except, I am going to retire to a place without Hurricanes. (or Earthquakes - I think those are worse)
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9717
Quoting kmanislander:


Little Cayman has far less infrastructure and has never really been a population center. It is better known for being a "get away from it all " location. The only type of business activity there is providing tourist accomodation and support business for that.

It is the sort of place where you go with the intention of walking around in sandals and just plain relaxing.



Shhhh. It's a secret.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Little Cayman has far less infrastructure and has never really been a population center. It is better known for being a "get away from it all " location. The only type of business activity there is providing tourist accomodation and support business for that.

It is the sort of place where you go with the intention of walking around in sandals and just plain relaxing.

And scuba diving---my favorite place in the Carib.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Little Cayman has far less infrastructure and has never really been a population center. It is better known for being a "get away from it all " location. The only type of business activity there is providing tourist accomodation and support business for that.

It is the sort of place where you go with the intention of walking around in sandals and just plain relaxing.


ahhh gotcha, thats pretty cool, you go there to relax a lot?
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IMO what is going to change the track of Tomas,#1 It has went further south and west than expected, also in a weakened state # and probably the biggest factor it has increased in forward speed , instead of decreasing, timing is everything and Tomas is beating the clock so far, JMO.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7506
New center forming at 72 and 13???
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295. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Perth
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin
TROPICAL CYCLONE ANGGREK (01U)
3:00 AM WST November 2 2010
======================================

At 2:00 am WST, Tropical Cyclone Anggrek, Category 1 (990 hPa) located at 13.2S 97.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 45 knots with gusts of 65 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving south southwest at 4 knots

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5/3.0/W0.5/24HRS

Gale Force Winds
=================
40 NM from the center in northern quadrant
70 NM from the center in southern quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 13.9S 96.9E - 45 knots (CAT 1)
24 HRS: 14.6S 95.6E - 45 knots (CAT 1)
48 HRS: 15.9S 92.4E - 40 knots (CAT 1)
72 HRS: 19.2S 90.2E - 30 knots (Tropical Low)

Additional Information
=======================
Microwave imagery at 1400 UTC showed the system to be sheared with the low level circulation well north of any deep convection. The exposed LLC gives a DT of 2.5 with CI held at 3.0.

The system is now located to the southeast of Cocos Islands. It is forecast to take a southwesterly track and is unlikely to pass close enough to the islands to produce gale force winds.

As the system is now south of 12S the ocean heat content has become marginal. The system is likely to remain a weak TC for a period before weakening further as it moves southwards over cooler waters with a further increase in shear due to the passage of a mid latitude system.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
294. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Outlook
17:30 PM IST November 2 2010
======================================

The depression over gulf of Thailand has moved west-northwestwards and emerged as a low pressure area over south Andaman Sea. The system is likely to concentrate into a depression over the same area within next 24 hours. It may intensify further into a cyclonic storm and move west-northwestward towards north Tamil Nadu and
south Andhra Pradesh coasts.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Kman got a question for you, why is Little Cayman so much less populated then Cayman Brac? have always wondered that.


Little Cayman has far less infrastructure and has never really been a population center. It is better known for being a "get away from it all " location. The only type of business activity there is providing tourist accomodation and support business for that.

It is the sort of place where you go with the intention of walking around in sandals and just plain relaxing.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
My guess is that at 5:00, NHC will keep Tomas a 35 knot (or possibly 40 knot) TS. That's based on the recent convective burst at the center, climatology, satellite presentation, rough symmetry, lack of dry air, decreasing shear, high SSTs--and the knowledge that conditions are ripe for Tomas to turn into a very deadly event, so they'll likely not want to downplay to the point that people stop paying attention. (Now if the convection fades away later, look for a TD at 11 tonight. A remnant low this evening, though? Not gonna happen...)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13275
Quoting Seastep:


Except that HH only found a single 35kt (40mph) wind reading. Of course, they may not have been where the 50mph winds were.

I say 40mph, but really doesn't matter, atm. Matters what it is three days from now.


I believe they'll drop to 45 as a compromise between HH data and satellite estimates. Obviously SATCON and ADT estimates have been way too high, last time I checked raw T#'s were already up near 4.0 with a pressure of 990 mb.
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Quoting aspectre:
Either Tomas has completely blown itself out (and we're awaiting the NHC's official RIP on the next advisory)...
...or there has been a center reformation (ie the old center collapsed and a new one formed)...
...or both the ATCF team and the NHCAdv.team had completely lost track of Tomas's center during the previous hours.

TropicalStormTomas's heading turned southward to (3.5degrees south of) dueWest
from it's previous heading of (8.1degrees west of) WestNorthWest
TS.Tomas's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions increased to ~36mph(~57.9km/h) from its previous travel speed of ~9.3mph(~15km/h)
TS.Tomas
1Nov. 06pmGMT - 13.4n69.2w - 40knots.(~74.1km/h) - 1005mb - ATCF
1Nov. 09pmGMT - 13.4n69.7w - 45mph_(~72.4km/h) - 1005mb - NHC.Adv.#15
2Nov. 12amGMT - 13.5n70.4w - 40knots.(~74.1km/h) - 1005mb - ATCF
2Nov. 03amGMT - 13.5n70.8w - 45mph_(~72.4km/h) - 1005mb - NHC.Adv.#16
2Nov. 06amGMT - 13.6n71.3w - 40knots.(~74.1km/h) - 1003mb - ATCF
2Nov. 09amGMT - 13.5n72.0w - 50mph_(~80.5km/h) - 1003mb - NHC.Adv.#17
2Nov. 12pmGMT - 13.4n72.2w - 45knots.(~83.3km/h) - 1003mb - ATCF
2Nov. 03pmGMT - 13.5n72.6w - 50mph_(~80.5km/h) - 1003mb - NHC.Adv.#18
2Nov. 06pmGMT - 13.4n74.2w - 35knots.(~64.8km/h) - 1006mb - ATCF

Copy&paste 13.4n69.2w, 13.4n69.7w, 13.5n70.4w, 13.5n70.8w, 13.6n71.3w-13.5n72.0w, 13.5n72.0w-13.4n72.2w, 13.4n72.2w-13.5n72.6w, 13.5n72.6w-13.4n74.2w, sdq, 12.5n81.1w, aua into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the headings and the distances traveled over the last 12^hours.


Guess the threat and the cone shifted west.
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21L/TS/T/CX
mark
13.43N/74.76W
IR ANIM STILLIMAGE VIS. WV ANIM IMAGE
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52260
Here in Tobago, having recorded 8 inches of rain (up here in Moriah) in Tomas's feeder band over the weekend, I'm also interested in the ITCZ trough near 55W. Previous good upper outflow support to convective development yesterday (1 Nov) was replaced today by north westerly shear. However this has exposed evidence of a continuing low-level cyclonic rotation associated with on today's vis imagery and this afternoon there has been some fresh convection....
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

a nice bowl of westcasting GOM soup


Or floridacasting.
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285. bwi
Tomas keeps getting the rug pulled out from under him, as the low-level circulation moves out ahead.

I wonder if a new circulation center will develop around 72 or 73 west tonight.
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Travel speed nearly equal to maximum windspeed. Either...
...Tomas has completely blown itself out (and we're awaiting the NHC's official RIP on the next advisory)...
...or there has been a center reformation (ie the old center collapsed and a new one formed)...
...or both the ATCF team and the NHCAdv.team had completely lost track of Tomas's center during the previous hours.

TropicalStormTomas's heading turned southward to (3.5degrees south of) dueWest
from it's previous heading of (8.1degrees west of) WestNorthWest
TS.Tomas's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions increased to ~36mph(~57.9km/h) from its previous travel speed of ~9.3mph(~15km/h)
TS.Tomas
1Nov. 06pmGMT - 13.4n69.2w - 40knots.(~74.1km/h) - 1005mb - ATCF
1Nov. 09pmGMT - 13.4n69.7w - 45mph_(~72.4km/h) - 1005mb - NHC.Adv.#15
2Nov. 12amGMT - 13.5n70.4w - 40knots.(~74.1km/h) - 1005mb - ATCF
2Nov. 03amGMT - 13.5n70.8w - 45mph_(~72.4km/h) - 1005mb - NHC.Adv.#16
2Nov. 06amGMT - 13.6n71.3w - 40knots.(~74.1km/h) - 1003mb - ATCF
2Nov. 09amGMT - 13.5n72.0w - 50mph_(~80.5km/h) - 1003mb - NHC.Adv.#17
2Nov. 12pmGMT - 13.4n72.2w - 45knots.(~83.3km/h) - 1003mb - ATCF
2Nov. 03pmGMT - 13.5n72.6w - 50mph_(~80.5km/h) - 1003mb - NHC.Adv.#18
2Nov. 06pmGMT - 13.4n74.2w - 35knots.(~64.8km/h) - 1006mb - ATCF

Copy&paste 13.4n69.2w, 13.4n69.7w, 13.5n70.4w, 13.5n70.8w, 13.6n71.3w-13.5n72.0w, 13.5n72.0w-13.4n72.2w, 13.4n72.2w-13.5n72.6w, 13.5n72.6w-13.4n74.2w, sdq, 12.5n81.1w, aua into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the headings and the distances traveled over the last 12^hours.
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Quoting Dakster:
What's for dinner tonight?

a nice bowl of westcasting GOM soup with a princess
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52260
Tomas is very disorganized, but he still has a lot of convection near a center of circulation.
I would expect Tomas to still be a Tropical Storm at 5 pm.
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Quoting Dakster:
What's for dinner tonight?


Curried Goat ;-D

Tomas is not invited.


He's not looking as good as this morning but I wouldn't call the undertakers yet (as much as I want to). Isn't that what he did yesterday?
Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
Quoting Dakster:
What's for dinner tonight?

Crow, at least for some...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13275
The NHC has done a very good job this season, especially considering how difficult the storms have been to predict. Seems like bloggers here have disagreed with them every step of the way---and who turned out to be correct? Just sayin'. It would be wonderful if Haiti got to dodge this, even a minimal tropical storm will be devastating.
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Tomas is in an organization phase again because it has grown much larger, watch, wait and see! I've seen this before with a few storms in that area, its about to hit the sweet spot around 76W, JMO
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7506
Tomas the mangy old hurricane cat is feeling naked and heavily sheered after leaving the graveyard... but he still has a few of his 9 lives left...

Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
Tomas IMO at 13.5N/75W moving west at around 13-14mph, not slowed, Tomas is not done and will cause more havoc IMO.
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Quoting SuperTyphoonLionrock:
Remnant low at 5:00 advisory.




That is wishful thinking. Not going to happen.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


The green storm symbol is the 11am position. See the time stamp in the top left?.


Ok! now i understand!
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Quoting raggpr:


What is this suppose to mean? COC relocation? under where the newest area of convection is building!?


The green storm symbol is the 11am position. See the time stamp in the top left?.
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Quoting reedzone:
Will you all stop downcasting Tomas? It's not a TD, its a 50 mph. Tropical Storm! Get over yourselves, it's forecast to strengthen, looks wayy better then yesterday. It's organizing.


Except that HH only found a single 35kt (40mph) wind reading. Of course, they may not have been where the 50mph winds were.

I say 40mph, but really doesn't matter, atm. Matters what it is three days from now.
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What is this suppose to mean? COC relocation? under where the newest area of convection is building!?
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Quoting kmanislander:
Good afternoon everyone

Tomas continues to surprise and confound. On satellite he looks fairly ferocious but the HH confirms that underneath all that gruff exterior lies a 1006 mb borderline TS / TD.

Meanwhile, off to the NW over Texas a huge low is pushing a powerful cold front through the gulf to pick up Tomas.

I don't see him resisting this


Kman got a question for you, why is Little Cayman so much less populated then Cayman Brac? have always wondered that.
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Haiti. You deserve a break from this.

Quoting RitaEvac:
Worst possible scenerio right here

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Tomas has virtually no inner core at the moment.
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Quoting kimoskee:


Pray they don't come back to haunt them.


I think its going to... I sure hope princess was right and it goes over the western tip Cuba.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
Quoting tornadodude:


haha I didnt think it was that obvious (;

how's the weather treating you?


Its a little chilly, but I love this time of year. You?
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Worst possible scenerio right here

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What's for dinner tonight?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9717
As much as some wish....Tomas just continues to confound and wane. He's really a TD now, and that's being generous. Perhaps he'll strengthen as forecast, however, perhaps he'll dissipate entirely. The NHC gave this a 10% chance of dissipating by now on Sunday, 5% by now yesterday. There's so much we don't understand about these cyclones.
.
.
I do think with the currrent forecast that TD or not, the NHC will keep Tomas as a TS at 5. But there is a chance that we could have a TD at 11.
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260. A4Guy
weather forecast for Fri-Sun here in SoFla has been "improving" a wee bit over the last day or two - that is, nighttime low temps have crept up, and daytime highs have crept up as well. Perhaps the front will not be as powerful?

I never doubt the NHC...but to my untrained eye, seems like Tomas is a little to deep in Carib to be pulled all the way NE and out.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
The Hunter was in the Graveyard... all it found was a ghost.. so they are going home.





Pray they don't come back to haunt them.
Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672

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About JeffMasters

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