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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Convection will wax and wane that's all part of normal storm activity!
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Nice outflow to the NNE

Link
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

ADT thinks 13.64N/75.10W

Not too bad still for looking at the shortwave loop, I say split the difference and make us both less than a half degree or half degree off! :)
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Quoting Chicklit:
If you're in Haiti and you don't want to be swept away by flood, what do you do?
I would have my tree and a rope, water, blanket, food, tarp.


80-85% of Haiti's trees are gone.... deforestation everywhere, due to the need to use wood to cook and boil water to make it bacteria free.... With 100 winds / rain and thousands of families under blue tents, there is not much you can do to escape a hurricane.... What I would do is to search for a highway bridge and try to cover under it... look for a big solid building and try to use it to protect me from the wind... and I don't know....
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
Quoting A4Guy:
looks like the models are giving up on the idea of a stall...front should take Tomas out into the Atlantic...though it does seem rather amazing to me, considering how deep in the tropics he is!


Modles haven't been all that stellar with Tomas. Skyepony has been tracking the error rates of the models and it has shown that they really do not have a handle on it.

And this is besides the instensity forecasts which are way off too.

At this point, in my opnion, its anyone's ballgame. Granted a GOM hit is rather unlikely at the moment though.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10819
Quoting kmanislander:
I'm out folks. Will be back tomorrow. Convection fading again.


goodnight kman.
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Quoting Dakster:


LOL... Hey, anyone know how the tea baggers did in the election?


Kicked ass.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


I am innocent :)
Yea, as me :)
Quoting kmanislander:
,

Was this along the lines of what you were trying to post?

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Quoting stormpetrol:
No change in lattitude IMO, Tomas roughly at 13.5N/75.7W

ADT thinks 13.64N/75.10W
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UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.1
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 03 NOV 2010 Time : 011500 UTC
Lat : 13:38:32 N Lon : 75:06:11 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
4.0 / 990.2mb/ 65.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.8 3.5 3.5

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +3.2mb

Center Temp : -44.2C Cloud Region Temp : -56.1C

Scene Type : UNIFORM CDO CLOUD REGION

Positioning Method : FORECAST INTERPOLATION

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

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : ON
Rapid Dissipation Flag : FLAG
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No change in lattitude IMO, Tomas roughly at 13.5N/75.7W
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Quoting scott39:
LOL... Now Now


I am innocent :)
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I'm out folks. Will be back tomorrow. Convection fading again.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
Could stall for a week according to yesterday's news.
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691. A4Guy
looks like the models are giving up on the idea of a stall...front should take Tomas out into the Atlantic...though it does seem rather amazing to me, considering how deep in the tropics he is!
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Chicklit - True... Tomas could just stall out for awhile. He hasn't gone outside of the cone of uncertaintity, but he sure hasn't behaved as expected either.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10819
hello people !!! I'm in the Dominican Republic and since yesterday we are experiencing strong waves in the southwest of the island.
Little rain so far, normal for this time of year, meteorological authorities here are not talking about computer models (GFS, NOGAPS) and I think the country is not prepared to deal with all the rain that comes with this storm (as always) ..
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KOTG - LOL...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10819
,
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Quoting Orcasystems:


Tampa :)
j/k
LOL... Now Now
If you're in Haiti and you don't want to be swept away by flood, what do you do?
I would have my tree and a rope, water, blanket, food, tarp.
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Makes one wonder if Tomas wants to go anywhere, Dak.
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Update:
Cancun, Cancun, QUINTANA ROO (PWS)
Updated: 23 sec ago

25 °C
Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 90%
Dew Point: 23 °C
Wind: 3 km/h from the North

Wind Gust: 8 km/h
Pressure: 1013.4 hPa (Rising)
Heat Index: 27 °C
Visibility: 11.3 kilometers
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds:
Scattered Clouds 457 m
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 12 m
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Quoting Dakster:


LOL... Hey, anyone know how the tea baggers did in the election?
i heard it was a BIG STEEP OUT


LOL
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Her courses start in January but she needs to get her uniforms made, buy supplies etc. Her step-father is down there now too. I just place my trust in God.


AMEN. Don't worry everything will be fine.
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Chicklit is that an anti-cyclone I see over Tomas?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10819
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
the shift is already happening over the isle of youth or isle of pines now you can see it in image i posted of front swinging over western gom fishing grounds over channel just hitting youth with the pre frontal influence


yep, see that
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
wow...look at the rapid deepening

http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/ramsdis/online/loop_640.asp?product=tropical_ge_4km_ir4_floater_1
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Quoting txjac:
They're still counting Dak ...Rand Paul did win in Kentuky though


Thanks.. I know they are still counting here in Florida too - but some elections have been "called" already. Just wondering if the tea party was able to get some folks into office.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10819
Quoting kmanislander:


NNE winds now at Cancun. Will soon switch to NW as the front pushes through on the way to the SE to collect Tomas.

Cancun, Cancun, QUINTANA ROO (PWS)
Updated: 12 min 1 sec ago
80.5 °F
Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 81%
Dew Point: 74 °F
Wind: 7.0 mph from the NNE

Wind Gust: 10.0 mph
Pressure: 29.93 in (Rising)
Heat Index: 85 °F
Visibility: 7.0 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds: Scattered Clouds 1500 ft


the shift is already happening over the isle of youth or isle of pines now you can see it in image i posted of front swinging over western gom fishing grounds over channel just hitting youth with the pre frontal influence
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting kimoskee:


A slab roof house is definately better during a hurricane. When do her courses start?
Maybe you want to consider bringing her home if they don't start til next year. I prefer to be with family during times of disaster. But there's always costs involved in whatever decision you make.
Her courses start in January but she needs to get her uniforms made, buy supplies etc. Her step-father is down there now too. I just place my trust in God.
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Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Cancun just updated to N winds. NNW likely next update. The front is pushing SE quickly.

Cancun, Cancun, QUINTANA ROO (PWS)
Updated: 7 min 26 sec ago
78.4 °F
Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 87%
Dew Point: 74 °F
Wind: 3.0 mph from the North

Wind Gust: 8.0 mph
Pressure: 29.93 in (Rising)
Heat Index: 81 °F
Visibility: 7.0 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds: Scattered Clouds 1500 ft


Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
669. txjac
They're still counting Dak ...Rand Paul did win in Kentuky though
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Quoting kmanislander:


Wasn't Bushwood the famous country club that Rodney Dangerfield ran amok in ? LOL
hes someplace alright just not the right place
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
TropicalStormTomas's heading turned westward to dueWest
from it's previous heading of (8.1degrees west of) WestNorthWest
TS.Tomas's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions decreased to ~9mph(~14.5km/h) from its previous travel speed of ~9.3mph(~15km/h)
TS.Tomas
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
2Nov. 09pmGMT - 13.5n74.6w - 40mph_(~64.4km/h) - 1006mb - NHC.Adv.#19
3Nov. 12amGMT - 13.5n75.0w - 40mph_(~64.4km/h) - 1006mb - NHC.Adv.#19A

Copy&paste 13.5n70.4w, 13.5n70.8w, 13.6n71.3w, 13.5n72.0w, 13.4n72.2w-13.5n72.6w, 13.5n72.6w-13.4n74.2w, 13.4n74.2w-13.5n74.6w, 13.5n74.6w-13.5n75.0w, adz, mbj into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the headings and the distances traveled over the last 12^hours.
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Ive have watched and learned about Haiti since Feb of this year and feel alot of compassion for the Haitians. I never really knew how bad it was there. Now its even worse and maybe getting catastrophic again in just a few days.
Quoting Dakster:
kman - Where do you put 1.5 million people living in tents?



And how do they protect themselves from the sort of torrential rain that hit St. Lucia?
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
My grand-daughter is going back to Mandeville tomorrow morning. Thought she would be safer there as the house she is staying at in Kingston is not the greatest but where she stays in Mandeville the house has a concrete roof so should be much safer. Her mother and I convinced her to stay and do her courses.


A slab roof house is definately better during a hurricane. When do her courses start?
Maybe you want to consider bringing her home if they don't start til next year. I prefer to be with family during times of disaster. But there's always costs involved in whatever decision you make.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
ok Bushwood Country Club Estates i put that in the ultra zonic atomspheric wave generator lets see what happens have ya ever seen a foot of snow before


Wasn't Bushwood the famous country club that Rodney Dangerfield ran amok in ? LOL
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
Election Update!
Republicans will gain control of The House in a major repudiation of the Obama agenda!

Tomas still disorganized. Will be a big rainmaker for the Islands.

Does that mean the cone should shift right too!! j/k , Personally I shouldn't go off on this because its not my citizenship country, but if the USA sneeze we catch the cold,IMO no matter who was in charge, the USA wouldn't have been any better off, you were stuck between a rock and a hard place, personally I describe myself as a liberal/moderate democrat!!
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
I live in Bushwood Country Club Estates.
ok Bushwood Country Club Estates i put that in the ultra zonic atomspheric wave generator lets see what happens have ya ever seen a foot of snow before
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141

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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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