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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How long does it take for the HH to complete a run?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
i don't know TD in a thunder storm you have great hazards winds hail ligthening strikes all fatal to an i pod


Oh yeah, I agree, Im just thinking it has potential. Im thinking a similar setup, but place into something pretty indestructible, and set it out in front of a tornado and see where it goes. I know they already do similar things, and Im not sure that I want to put an iPhone and an expensive camera into a tornado, but it would be really cool
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting Skyepony:
pcola~
Thanks Skyepony,seeing/crunching the numbers helps my learning curve..LOL..
Link bookmarked...will review.
Again,Really appreciate it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I see a Tomas and i want to paint it blue...

(I see a red door and I want to paint it black)
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
Quoting tornadodude:


That's amazing!!

wow, so cool!

I think there are definitely possibilities for something along those lines to interact with tornadoes, definitely deserves some more thought,

thanks!
i don't know TD in a thunder storm you have great hazards winds hail lightening strikes all fatal to an i pod
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
Quoting Orcasystems:
Getting closer...

We will find out if its on or off track... and it should be out of the graveyard... I would guess by the approach course of the HH, its definitely turned.

Not really sure how we are going to paint it Blue though?







ok ok lol

Navy blue; Royal blue; Powder blue !!

which ...
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802. JLPR2


CATL low doing good considering the fact wind shear is not very favorable there.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
Getting closer...

We will find out if its on or off track... and it should be out of the graveyard... I would guess by the approach course of the HH, its definitely turned.

Not really sure how we are going to paint it Blue though?





Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26512
Quoting Orcasystems:
Who is a political wizz kid I can WU a question to?


go ahead...
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
T.C.F.W.
21L/TS/T/CX
mark
14.08N/75.03W
IR ANIM/WV ANIM IMAGE
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
Quoting Skyepony:


I was hoping to settle that with ASCAT..


Eerie calm follows big blast at Indonesian volcano. Death toll is ~450 between the volcano & the tsunami. The missing list dropped by over half to ~135 as some returned from the hills.


Don't think I would care to see the "blue" image.

I like your news link - thanks

Indonesia is so seismically active.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
796. Skyepony (Mod)
pcola~ They are at methaz.org. CMC & UKMET on top with 63nm error in the last day, AVNI GFDL 67, the gfs ensembles average 68, Official forecast improving 70.. NOGAPS, NAM, BAM, CLIP..lost
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
795. JLPR2
Quoting sunlinepr:


It will be brighter green when the gov. finish the Green Nat. Ga$ gaseoduct....

Green in dollars.... not in Euros...


Yes you will see a green $ shaped area of lights in the middle of the island. :\
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
if a cat three or more goes that way best put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye the land will be stripped clean bodies will lay in the ruins 500,000 or more


Catastrophic, worst than the earthquake.... HOPE NOT....
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Hey tornadodude check out this:

Seven-year-old Max Geissbuhler and his dad dreamed of visiting space -- and armed with just a weather balloon, a video camera, and an iPhone, in a way they did just that.

The father-and-son team from Brooklyn managed to send their homemade spacecraft up nearly 19 miles, high into the stratosphere, bringing back perhaps the most impressive amateur space footage ever. The amazing footage starts at 2:35 minutes in the video below.

Link


Now imagine you chasing a Tornado and releasing one weather ballon with camera and recording it going into or around a tornado.... That would be an unique video... 1rst time I belive...


That's amazing!!

wow, so cool!

I think there are definitely possibilities for something along those lines to interact with tornadoes, definitely deserves some more thought,

thanks!
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting melaniestx:

These are all great links, but all require wood which Haiti does not have
if a cat three or more goes that way best put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye the land will be stripped clean bodies will lay in the ruins 500,000 or more
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
Quoting JLPR2:


Jeez PR should consider cutting down on the lights a little. LOL!


It will be brighter green when the gov. finish the Green Nat. Ga$ gaseoduct....

Green in dollars.... not in Euros...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tornadodude:
howdy everybody


Hey tornadodude check out this:

Seven-year-old Max Geissbuhler and his dad dreamed of visiting space -- and armed with just a weather balloon, a video camera, and an iPhone, in a way they did just that.

The father-and-son team from Brooklyn managed to send their homemade spacecraft up nearly 19 miles, high into the stratosphere, bringing back perhaps the most impressive amateur space footage ever. The amazing footage starts at 2:35 minutes in the video below.

Link


Now imagine you chasing a Tornado and releasing one weather ballon with camera and recording it going into or around a tornado.... That would be an unique video... 1rst time I belive...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting scott39:
Do either one of the parties realllly care about the people? Are teabaggers the answer? Does it matter who one tonight? Can we really have a democracy anymore when both parties want all the power and want the other one to be destroyed. Real Change means, giving the power back to the people and for them to serve us. You cannot legislate morality, no more than you can legislate honesty. Every one wants real change, but you should not put your faith in MAN for that. It will happen one day when a true leader of man comes to Govern.



+1,000,000
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Quoting btwntx09:
Tomas will be a  Tropical Depression
At the 5:00 A.M. Advisory.


really...not...needed.... "!"

hows everybody doing on this lovely evening???...

ill be interested to see how the d-max treats Tomas overnight...i feel if something in the form of sustainable convection isn't apparent in the am...a ts is all Haiti will have to deal with...and that would be great news...

good night and catch ya on the flip side...
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786. Skyepony (Mod)
Model & OFCL Intensity forecasts are usually 3Xs or more better than what we have seen with Tomas..

Average Intensity Error (kts) for core models
model Error Trend 24hr Error 48hr Error 72hr Error Day 4 Error Day 5 Error
GFDL DECREASING 14 25 26 19 -1
OFCL DECREASING 15 33 54 61 -1
KHRM DECREASING 18 36 37 22 -1
HWRF INCREASING 13 19 21 28 40
LBAR INCREASING 0 0 0 0 0
BAMD DECREASING 0 0 0 0 0
MM5B INCREASING 15 25 31 15 33
MM5E INCREASING 19 32 45 41 -1
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Quoting sunlinepr:
If you were in Haiti with no shelter; what would you do??? Here are some links I found....


How to Build a Wilderness Shelter

Link

How to Improvise on the Field When You Don't Have a Tent
Link

Improvise a shelter search

Link


These are all great links, but all require wood which Haiti does not have
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
784. JLPR2
Quoting sunlinepr:


Jeez PR should consider cutting down on the lights a little. LOL!
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
could anyone explain the difference between shear direction and steering currents
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Quoting tornadodude:
howdy everybody


how-dee
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781. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting Orcasystems:
I "think" someone is going to be painting Blue in a few hours


I was hoping to settle that with ASCAT..


Eerie calm follows big blast at Indonesian volcano. Death toll is ~450 between the volcano & the tsunami. The missing list dropped by over half to ~135 as some returned from the hills.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:
I "think" someone is going to be painting Blue in a few hours


LOL!

I think we need to whisper so Tomas doesn't hear us. Yesterday when we mentioned him going bye-bye he got mad. So whisper...
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Quoting causesandconditions:
most respect to you for offering survival advice, they have no trees or limbs for use.
possible random cinder block, scrap of tin, homemade twine, wood might be pushin it. scrap metal with strength(shear strength if possible)
these are rough survival conditions at best

There is nothing there. Any piece of material, be it rock, tree branch, piece of sheet metal, anything with the slightest worth was used long ago. Another thing to remember were the number of amputees rendering many of the strongest and most capable people little more than helpless. It's still hard for me to reconcile what I saw with the fact that these conditions actually existed in the 21st century
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howdy everybody
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
I usually agree with the NHC, but since intensity forecast can be tricky, I do disagree with them on that fairly often.

Somehow I figured and still think Tomas won't regenerate, hopefully for Haiti I'll be right.

It just seem to me that Tomas weakened completely into a very shallow surface low, and therefore will fail to recover. Even though the low has still retained tropical storm strength winds. Everything tells me its a remnant low... Every blowup of convection with Tomas just looks like big thunderstorms over the Caribbean. It looks like there is absolutely no sign of any vorticity on satellite with the convection... I don't think Tomas ever will restrengthen. Lets pray that is true.
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I "think" someone is going to be painting Blue in a few hours
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26512
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Suddenly I'm thinking the HH that will investigate Tomas in a couple of hours will find him to be stronger again, he looks better now than he did earlier in the evening, much more so. This is reminiscent of Wilma... she stalled out in the Carribean as a weak tropical storm before she exploded with category 5 fury. I don't think Tomas can be that furious, but hey, it's not impossible. 'Sides, he's massive, it takes a while for a sleeping giant to wake up, especially after it's been strangled and hacked at by wind shear and dry air.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Skyepony:
ASCAT was a miss.

Hey Skyepony,
Just dropping in for a sec.ASCAT missed for sure..One question(Actually 2) for you please before I go back to lurk mode...How do you find those model tracking deviations you post,and how are they preforming now?
TIA
v/r
Moe
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Yap, I found out after browsing them that those links are not applicable there....

You look out for others saftey---Highest life form
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771. JRRP
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting causesandconditions:
most respect to you for offering survival advice, they have no trees or limbs for use.
possible random cinder block, scrap of tin, homemade twine, wood might be pushin it. scrap metal with strength(shear strength if possible)
these are rough survival conditions at best


Thanks for your respect, you are completly correct, I found out after browsing those link advices, that they are not applicable in Haiti....
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Quoting 7544:
watching the new blob west of tomas where it goes tomas should follow
Still looks west to me.
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Good evening... but heading out.

Leaving you with the current steering currents... at little something to think about:

<1000MB:




999 - 990:




As you can see the ridge still strong enough to prevent Tomas from acquiring a true northerly component.

Also watch the ULL Cut off low over E TX in the SAT imagery and you'll notice that it has almost halted its progress... also notice that the "squall" line (now dying) has stopped just on the W periphery of the DLM High. Is trying to erode it... if Tomas makes too much of a W progress than expected then it will get pulled NE but be left behind and stay in the C Carib.
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766. Skyepony (Mod)
ASCAT was a miss.
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765. 7544
ok hes still moving w so lets see how far he gets before turning north he could blow up again during dmax imo
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763. JLPR2
Quoting 7544:
but its pass 11pm ?


LOL!!!
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
Quoting sunlinepr:
If you were in Haiti with no shelter; what would you do??? Here are some links I found....


How to Build a Wilderness Shelter

Link

How to Improvise on the Field When You Don't Have a Tent
Link

Improvise a shelter search

Link

most respect to you for offering survival advice, they have no trees or limbs for use.
possible random cinder block, scrap of tin, homemade twine, wood might be pushin it. scrap metal with strength(shear strength if possible)
these are rough survival conditions at best
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This is what I call the pendulum effect:

If a pendulum moves the farthest he can go to the left, he's going to bounce and reach the farthest he can go to the right....

So...Ugly times with superpowers are on the way....
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759. 7544
but its pass 11pm ?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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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