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 Mixed:
Guys Whats Up I Can See An Area Of Low Pressure Forming South East Of The Windward Islands. We Cant Take Anymore Down Here In St Lucia. My Hometown Worst Hit In St Lucia, I Have Quite A Bit Of Pics Just Follow The Link To Facebook Album.
Soufriere Disaster


Man thats a disaster if you need solar power let me know i can help with that! www.sunevaenergy.com
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Kman, Just agree with me on a farther track W so we can get this thing away from Haiti! LOL
Quoting stormpetrol:

Thumbs up on that one! I see it too but one never truly knows


Look at the wind shift at this buoy in the Bay of Campeche. NW.

The front is that far South already

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It may continue its west movement until tomorrow, still is going north northeast after that.
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Im also concerned about this trough not picking up Tomas and carrying him all the way out of the Caribbean. The NHC had him alot Farther N yesterday for the trough to scoop him all the way out. We will see.
UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.1
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 03 NOV 2010 Time : 001500 UTC
Lat : 13:36:32 N Lon : 74:59:25 W


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


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.9 3.6 3.6

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : 3.2mb

Center Temp : -45.9C Cloud Region Temp : -60.9C

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 : OFF

****************************************************
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Quoting kmanislander:


No way Tomas gets into the NW Caribbean with that front digging down.

Thumbs up on that one! I see it too but one never truly knows
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7862
601. 7544
new cone at 11pm ?
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HURRICANE TOMAS


We are watching the forecasts for Hurricane Tomas in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The NHC gives the storm a chance at making landfall somewhere in Haiti; given that nearly a million and a half people are still living in tents a landfall would be a major catastrophe. Portlight is poised to respond to this situation if it happens and we are ready to commit our resources to provide any assistance that may be necessary.


portlight.org Wunderground Featured Blog





Portlight and it wunderground supporters and those worldwide have made the relief mission to Haiti post Earthquake a reality and continues to this day.



The following is an open letter from Richard Lumarque, the extraordinary man who headed up our field team in Haiti after the earthquake in January. For those of you who followed our efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake you will remember the amazing job that Richard, his cousin Tabitha and their team did in the early days; they worked miracles and without them we would have accomplished a mere fraction of what we did.




Portlight Featured Wunderground Entry


Richard in Haiti earlier this year doing the Best of Works..






Help us Bring some Joy to those without much this season..




HAITI TOYS FOR CHRISTMAS DREAM



Dear Paul,


I want to start by thanking you for the interest and sincere caring your organization has shown to the underprivileged and poor people of the island of Haiti.


After being devastated by the earthquake of January 12th of this year where countless people lost their lives and forcing countless men, women and children to live in sub-human conditions, the survivors are now faced with an outbreak of cholera that threatens all of them. With the holidays coming, we want, once again, to come up with a way to give these people a ray of hope. We want to remind them that Portlight Strategies and the good-hearted people of America have not forgotten about them; we want them to know that we share their pain and suffering.


If you watch the news as I do, you will see that the big NGOs with millions of dollars in donations are still facing the same difficulties they have since the earthquake: supplies are locked up in warehouses and not being distributed in a timely manner to help the people that need these supplies the most. After doing some research on how we can make a difference for the Holidays, I think we can accomplish the following objective:


The Sean Penn foundation had taken a special interest in a camp located in the city of Petionville that holds about 40,000 of the homeless. He started a school for primary education which provides about 250 primary school students an opportunity for a quality education. The school was being cared for by another NGO but they too stopped providing the necessary funds to sustain the school. University Quisqueya up to now has been sustaining the operation of the school which employs 8 to 10 teachers with a salary of $400.00US for each teacher. The University is also facing difficult times as the entire Universitys buildings had been destroyed by the earthquake.


There is also a school on the outskirts of the city of Jacmel called Centre Educatif de Fond Jean-Noel that provides education for about 600 students from Kindergarten through High School; the students ages vary from 5 to 18 years old. They even have a computer lab. That school was also supported by the efforts of the University Quisqueya and again, the funding has dried up. Soon, these 800 students will be without any opportunity for organized education unless we do something. These children are in desperate need of our help.


My dream is to be able to raise enough funds to pay for the salary of about 12 to 15 teachers for the next year. $5,000.00US a month for 12 months = $60,000.00US. In addition to the salaries for the staff, they need all kinds of school supplies; backpacks, pens, pencils, notepads and even lunch boxes. My further hope is to raise enough to buy some simple Christmas presents for about 800 students to bring a small ray of hope to these children whose lives have been forever changed by this tragedy.


Also, Haiti has been without electricity for about a month now. They need good quality flashlights, batteries and lanterns to sustain them. The kids are so desperate for a decent education that they are willing to learn with a lamp.


In the face of this devastation, we can make a difference. The key to the future of Haiti will be the children we educate today; these children are the future leaders of Haiti. They can lead these people to progress, democracy and a government without corruption but only if they receive the education that we in America take for granted.


I pray that we can find God's Grace and Blessing in this endeavor and accomplish this task. We have very little time to accomplish this task but if we give of ourselves, we can do it.


Thank you for all your support, love and caring. God bless Portlight and God Bless the United States of America.

Sincerely,

Richard Lumarque
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128279


No northward movement in that loop, just tightening and organization IMO.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7862
If you look at the 5pm discussion fron the NHC, Tomas is already at the 11/3-6am forecast point. The track is going to have to shift left some.
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

So, for effects in Jamaica I hear we are expecting 6" of rain and possibly hurricane conditions in the eastern end.


Flash floods seem to be a given. As to hurricane conditions no certainty for that at this time but the Watch is up just in case.
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Quoting stormpetrol:

Hi Kman, How are you, I sure hope so, but Tomas is in a ticklish for me at least, I know all about the trough and such , but so far Tomas has stayed west and south of the forecast points, though he stayed within the cone of error, if he's at 77W or past tomorrow morning and still below 15N, I think its time to start thinking differently, JMO.


No way Tomas gets into the NW Caribbean with that front digging down.
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595. JLPR2
But wind shear, well... it aint that good XD

Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8693
594. JLPR2
Two areas with nice 850mb vort out in the CATL.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8693
Quoting kmanislander:


Proximity and timeline

So, for effects in Jamaica I hear we are expecting 6" of rain and possibly hurricane conditions in the eastern end.
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
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Quoting scott39:
Im wondering If Tomas has moved faster in forward speed than the NHCs forecast and the trough is moving slower? I dont know about the trough, but I do think Tomas has moved faster than forecasted. IMO

I totally agree!
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7862
Quoting kmanislander:


Not coming here. The turn is about to happen


Hi Kman, How are you, I sure hope so, but Tomas is in a ticklish for me at least, I know all about the trough and such , but so far Tomas has stayed west and south of the forecast points, though he stayed within the cone of error, if he's at 77W or past tomorrow morning and still below 15N, I think its time to start thinking differently, JMO.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7862
Quoting kmanislander:


Proximity and timeline
Thanks
Quoting stormwatcherCI:



I am still seeing a possibility of a Paloma type track.
that is completely not likely, the trough is way to strong to not affect Tomas Before Jamaica, and make it take that track
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Quoting scott39:
Why is Jamaica the only one with a hurricane watch??


Proximity and timeline
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Why is Jamaica the only one with a hurricane watch??
Quoting scott39:
Will the trough weaken Tomas more when it picks it up?


Not really because the system will then be travelling in the direction of the shear
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583. Skyepony (Mod)
Good night for cloudsat.. also caught the leading edge of the wave in Central Atlantic. It's on the right below (you can click on these to open a page of the pass & look at it better, ordination to the weather & all).
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Good Night everyone, please stay safe!!!
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Major cold front on the way and SW wind flow already digging down as far as the Yucatan. Tomas' days are numbered.

No way Tomas will avoid being pulled out of the Caribbean by

this
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Quoting kmanislander:


Not coming here. The turn is about to happen


I think it might be happening already
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Quoting scott39:
Will the trough weaken Tomas more when it picks it up?
not in the forecast, it's all about the steering currents
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I hate the waiting game, there seems is no good track for Tomas. This reminds me of Matthew earlier this year he wasn't the monster everyone feared but he killed 100+ people and (according to wiki) caused 2 billion in damage. Honestly I think we'd be lucky if Tomas did that much but maybe there is some miracle solution that will come out of the blue
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2372
Quoting kmanislander:


Not coming here. The turn is about to happen

Will the trough weaken Tomas more when it picks it up?
Quoting kmanislander:


Not coming here. The turn is about to happen


I don't think so either, but you never can tell with mother nature, i think the chances of that happening are almost 0
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
But it would be better (God forgive me) if it hit Cuba instead of Haiti. Cuba is generally very well prepared for a hurricane and Castro does not hesitate on evacuating wherever it is necessary.
oh i agree, it's terrible set up for Haiti, Cuba is like Puerto Rico in the sense that our homes are made concrete, Haiti is unfortunatly poor, it's sad to see this happen
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Quoting PRweathercenter:
thanks, you guys got keep on eye on this just in case ;-)


Not coming here. The turn is about to happen

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Even if the center of Tomas were to track completely west of Haiti without a landfall, it will still impact the nation with flooding rain.
I hope it goes east of the forecast track, that would be much better for them
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Quoting PRweathercenter:
i highly doubt it will hit cuba, i think once it makes a northerly turn, it will steer off to the north east pretty fast.
But it would be better (God forgive me) if it hit Cuba instead of Haiti. Cuba is generally very well prepared for a hurricane and Castro does not hesitate on evacuating wherever it is necessary.
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ADT changed its mind

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

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 02 NOV 2010 Time : 234500 UTC
Lat : 13:35:31 N Lon : 74:55:58 W


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


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
4.0 3.6 3.6

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +3.2mb

Center Temp : -48.7C Cloud Region Temp : -62.8C

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 : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Quoting stormpetrol:

Yes, Grand Cayman.
thanks, you guys got keep on eye on this just in case ;-)
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Quoting scott39:
So what do you think about the race of when the 2 will meet each other?

I'm not too sure yet, however the low and trough are still digging SEward, we should know more in the coming hours.
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
T.C.F.W.
21L/TS/T/CX
mark
14.12N/75.08W
IR ANIM/WV ANIM IMAGE
that's right on target
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Quoting PRweathercenter:
Are you in the Cayman Islands ?

Yes, Grand Cayman.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7862
peeks in

--swoon--

ker-thunk
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:



I am still seeing a possibility of a Paloma type track.

See my post #522, that is the track more likely IMO, just turning further east, but I understand the Paloma scenario also.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7862
Quoting weatherwatcher12:
Latest WV image of the trough and cut off low.
So what do you think about the race of when the 2 will meet each other?
TROPICAL STORM 21L 0:00UTC 03November2010
UW-CIMSS Experimental Vertical Shear and TC Intensity Trend Estimates

Current Conditions (from TPC) :
Latitude : 13:36:02 N
Longitude : 74:58:47 W
Intensity (MSLP) : 1005.0 hPa

Max Pot Int (MPI,from Emanuel) : 899.3 hPa
MPI differential (MSLP-MPI) : 105.7 hPa

CIMSS Vertical Shear Magnitude : 4.8 m/s
Direction : 237.6 deg

Outlook for TC Intensification Based on Current
Env. Shear Values and MPI Differential
Forecast Interval : 6hr 12hr 18hr 24hr
F F F F

Legend : VF-Very Favorable F-Favorable N-Neutral
U-Unfavorable VU-Very Unfavorable

-- Mean Intensity Trend (negative indicates TC deepening) --
6hr 12hr 18hr 24hr
VF <-3.0mb/ 6hr <-6.0mb/12hr <-9.0mb/18hr <-12.0mb/24hr
F -3.0 - -1.0 -6.0 - -2.0 -9.0 - -3.0 -12.0 - -4.0
N -1.0 - +1.0 -2.0 - +2.0 -3.0 - +3.0 -4.0 - +4.0
U +1.0 - +3.0 +2.0 - +6.0 +3.0 - +9.0 +4.0 -+12.0
VU >+3.0 >+6.0 >+9.0 >+12.0
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53835
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560. Skyepony (Mod)
cloudsat of the far right side of Tomas from just west of north on left to just east of south on right. The left 1/2 over blue in over water, the right half over the brown in South America..check out what the mountains on the right are doing to the precip.. Overall looks wetter than I'd guessed by looking at satellite alone.

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ATCF just out says no change as far as winds or pressure:

AL, 21, 2010110300, , BEST, 0, 136N, 748W, 35, 1006, TS, 34, NEQ, 90, 0, 0, 90, 1009, 160, 60, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, TOMAS, S,
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Quoting stormpetrol:
.
Are you in the Cayman Islands ?
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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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